Well, that wasn't quite the blowout we were expecting, but brushing off Cesena 2-0 was exactly what Roma needed following consecutive disappointments versus Bayern Munich and Sampdoria. Thanks to goals from Mattia Destro and Daniele De Rossi, Roma held court at the Olimpico dispatching 18th place Cesena with relative ease, despite the relative paucity of goals. Not only that, Juventus lost to Genoa 1-0, meaning Roma and the Old Lady are even on 22 points!
So, they may not have embarrassed the Seahorses as much as we'd hoped, but it was still a banner day at the Olimpico, so let's take a quick look at how Roma broke these wild seahorses.
The fact that this match ended 2-0 was a minor miracle. Roma outshot Cesena 16 to 4, though to their credit, all fours shots came within Roma's penalty area, but only one was considered on target; this is a strange game we follow, isn't it?
Beyond simple shots, Roma's build up play was magnificent. Led by Miralem Pjanic's eye popping 135 passes and 95% completion, Roma ran circles around the Cesena defense, holding 72% possession, completing 92% of their passes and outdribbling Cesena 14-0. Rudi Garcia's men were simply able to do what they wanted when they wanted, nearly tripling Cesena's touches and passes.
So, while it would have been fun to see a few more goals pour in, this was about as dominating and one sided as this sport gets.
So, how exactly did Roma get on the scorer's ledge you ask?
Destrinho: 8th Minute Tap in
The combination we saw so often last season, Mattia Destro and Gervinho, put the match away before the players even broke a sweat. Nothing magnanimous about this one, but it's a prime example of what makes these two such a deadly pair. Gervinho's speed breaks open the play on the right flank--though in this instance, Vasilis Torosidis threaded a lovely ball to spring him--and Destro's movement and timing finishes it off.
Take a look at how Destro faints going to his right, only to dart back diagonally to his left, finding the open seam to tap in Gervinho's cross.
Roma would cling to that one goal lead (this is still Roma afterall, so cling is very much an appropriate word choice) until the 81st minute when Daniele De Rossi grabbed his first goal of the season.
Daniele De Rossi: 81st Minute Set Piece
The key on this corner was undoubtedly Mapout Yanga Mbiwa's header. As Alessandro Florenzi's cross swung over the endline, MB was not only able to get his head on the ball, but played it perfect back to DDR who summarily put the game to bed.
A Good Day, Indeed
As if the three points weren't good enough, Roma received several more blessing throughout the Peninsula this evening. Not only did Juventus fall to Genoa (somewhat controversial, I hear. Deal with it, Juve. That's what you get), but Inter Milan took down Sampdoria, gifting Roma a bit of breathing room in second place, where they fall only due to their controversial loss against Juventus.
As it currently stands, Roma and Juventus each have 22 points through eight matches. They each have 16 goals forced. They each have four goals allowed. They each have seven wins. They each have one loss and they each have one draw.
This thing is going down to the wire, folks. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.