Now that is exactly what this team and, let's be honest, the fanbase needed. Roma successfully defended the Olimpico this afternoon, dispatching Torino in a relatively easy 3-0 affair to get off the schnide. Despite that uneven result, this wasn't Roma's most lopsided victory of the Garcia era, but their buildup play was crisp and their shooting was accurate and efficient; traits that should enable Roma to best any opponent, let alone a relative light weight like Torino.
So, without further delay, let's dive into this one.
This wasn't Roma's most prolific afternoon in the park, but they did just enough to keep Torino on their heels throughout the match, pressing pretty high up the pitch, particularly in the central channel, where Adem Ljajic, Francesco Totti, and Gervinho ran circles around the Toros backline. In fact, nearly 20% of the matches action occurred in Torino's defensive third.
Beyond mere position and possession, what was most impressive about this victory was Roma's ball movement. Not only did they complete 90% of their passes on the day, but they created 11 scoring chances, each one in or around Torino's penalty area. I know that sounds redundant, but led by Totti's five chances created, Roma was able to find attacking space and passing lanes deep in Torino's area.
Of course, creating chances is only half the equation, you still have to take quality shots and, naturally, put them in the back of the net. This is precisely what Roma did this afternoon, unleashing 14 shots on the Torino goal, 57% of which were on target, 21 % of which beat keeper Jean-Francois Gillet. Daniele De Rossi and Ljajic were particularly sharp, putting 100% and 50% of their attempts on target, respectively.
Speaking of goals, hey, let's look at them!
Vasilis Torisidis: 8th Minute
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Following an interception of the ball, Miralem Pjanic started off a succinct set of passes and movements, working it across the pitch to Totti, who immediately worked a give and go with Seydou Keita. Torosidis skirted pass the Torino defense virtually unnoticed, setting up one of the easier assists of Totti's career. But full marks to Torosidis on this one, his run was absolutely perfect in time, pace and finishing.
Seydou Keita: 27th Minute
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The buildup to this goal was far more involved and far more intricate, involving nearly all of Roma's outfield players, but once it reached the edge of Torino's area, Gervinho and Pjanic teamed up to occupy enough of the Toro defenders to give Keita ample room at the top of the eighteen, where he buried it low and away giving Roma an early 2-0 lead.
But, as is often the case, we'll save the best for last
Adem Ljajic: 58th Minute
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Watch as Ljajic charges up the middle of the pitch only to pull back on the reins, leaving the Torino defenders twisting in the wind, but what happened next was quite lovely and reason number seventy five why you want to hang onto this kid. Ljajic, barely able to fight off inertia, scooped one into the right hand corner from over twenty yards out to put the icing on the cake.
Torino: Good for What Ails Ya
In the buildup to this match, we touted this as a follow up to the Cesena fixture from last month; a relatively innocuous opponent upon whom Roma could feast to get back to her winning ways. While Roma was able to defeat the Seahorses, it wasn't exactly what one would call convincing; Roma at 70% effort and, oh, 50% concentration were able to defeat Cesena, but tonight was something of a completely different sort. Roma was quick, they were precise, they were accurate and they were deadly efficient when and where it mattered most, in the attacking third. Oh, and we were treated to a cameo from Kevin Strootman; The Dutch Jesuus walks again, church goers. Rejoice!
So that's it for now, the world breaks once more for International duty and we'll have to wait until the 22nd when Roma takes on Atalanta on the road.