Roma did not face much resistance out of Cagliari on Saturday and easily waltzed their way into a three-nothing win that further strengthens their case for a Champions League berth.
They came into the match after collecting seven points in the previous three fixtures, where they topped Sampdoria and Udinese and tied with Inter on the road. Claudio Ranieri had to replace the suspended Bryan Cristante and Nicolò Zaniolo and hand-picked Justin Kluivert over Cengiz Under on the right flank and preferred Javier Pastore to Patrik Schick up front, deploying Lorenzo Pellegrini as pivot.
The decisions paid dividends as the two starters were very instrumental in the win. As a matter of fact, the Giallorossi put the game away in just eight minutes. Federico Fazio scored after just 600 seconds, outjumping everybody on the second ball on a corner kick and precisely directing his header to the far post.
Three minutes later, Kluivert scurried down the left flank, served a square ball for Pastore and the Argentinian midfielder elegantly slotted it home from around the penalty spot. Antonio Mirante made his only meaningful save a little after that, tipping over the bar a Leonardo Pavoletti attempt.
There was pretty much only one team on the pitch for the whole contest and Pastore almost made it three-nothing in the first half, but his close-range effort hit the crossbar, while Pellegrini sent the subsequent shot just wide from outside the box. Cragno then batted away a bouncing attempt by Stephan El Shaarawy.
The script did not change in the second half, as La Lupa kept charging searching for the third goal. A try by Aleksandar Kolarov was deflected on the post by Luca Ceppitelli, while Pellegrini narrowly missed the mark again, but this time on a great trail. Cragno had another amazing save on a point-blank El Shaarawy header.
After Edin Dzeko skied a sitter, the locals finally got what they were looking for at the 86th minute, as the ball got to an uncovered Kolarov after Cragno denied Diego Perotti coming out of the goal and the left back managed to tuck it home despite the goalie’s desperate attempt to reject it.
The three goals on top of the clean sheet made the fantasy haul very conspicuous as Federico Fazio and Aleksandar Kolarov gathered nine points, Mirante seven, Javier Pastore six, Kostas Manolas four because he was credited with an assist on the initial goal, while the rest of the midfielders earned two, like Kluivert who set up a teammate.
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