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Roma Stomps Chievo 4-1, Maintain Third Place

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A vital three points for Roma in their quest for Champions League football

AS Roma v AC Chievo Verona - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Roma faced 17th placed Chievo today sitting just two points off the drop zone. Chievo, despite their position in the table, have a reputation of being a joker in the pack especially against Roma (I still wake up with nightmares of Sergio Pellissier scoring in the fog). Coupled with Roma’s European exploits, this looked like a dangerous banana skin for Eusebio di Francesco’s men who were only one point away from fifth place at the start of the evening. EDF put out a strong lineup featuring Edin Dzeko, Patrik Schick and Stephan El Shaarawy up front demonstrating the importance of this game for Roma’s season.

First half

Roma seemed to start off a little disjointed in the first five minutes with a few giveaways and sloppy play. Chievo were able to rip off a couple of shots at Allison’s goal before Roma created their first real chance.

Fortunately for Roma, that first chance led to the first goal.

Patrik Schick: 9th minute

It may have taken Patrik Schick till matchday 34 to find his first Serie A goal for Roma but he took just nine minutes to double that tally today. However, this goal is all about Radja Nainggolan’s power to win the ball and the precision of his cross. Watch how he takes the long ball from Juan Jesus, fights off the Chievo defender who looked favourite for the ball and then delivers an absolutely inch-perfect cross to the feet of the Czech striker. Schick for his part made the perfect run and finished this chance expertly. Lets hope this is the beginning of a new run of goal-scoring form for Patrik.

The rest of the first half was littered with a whole host of chances for Roma as they completely took control of the game. El Shaarawy was particularly unlucky when he was first denied by the offside flag (confirmed by VAR) after an audacious backheel finish and then by the woodwork after he curled a stunning strike against the far post. Fazio and Dzeko also came close to increasing Roma’s lead but a combination of the woodwork and poor finishing meant Roma were looking at just a one goal lead heading into halftime. That is, until, lady luck did shine on Roma towards the end of the half.

Edin Džeko: 40th minute

I’ve watched a few replays of this and I can’t tell if Dzeko actually gets anything on this. From every replay I can find, it looks like Radovanović may have got a healthy touch on it but perhaps it grazes Dzeko’s foot on the way to goal? Either way, the Bosnian does a great job here of first driving the ball to Kolarov in space on the left flank before making an excellent run into the box to finish the cross. Kolarov’s delivery, as it has been all season, was inch perfect as he notched up assist number 7 in Serie A this season.

That would do it for the first half as Roma went into halftime with a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Second half

Roma started the second half with a great tempo as they went searching for the decisive third goal to put this game to bed. However, things are never quite that simple for Roma, are they? Roma were cruising along until Juan Jesus had a moment of complete madness.

56th minute: Juan Jesus red card + penalty

Jesus had been pretty solid in this game till this point but in a flash of madness, brought down Roberto Inglese in the box when he was clean through on goal. Yes, we can argue that the contact was fairly minimal but you just can’t make silly challenges like that inside the box. Jesus was summarily sent off and Chievo were awarded a potential game-changing penalty.

Fortunately for Roma, Allison Becker showed why he is THE best goalkeeper in the world at this time.

Inglese’s penalty was well struck but you can see how Allison starts to lean in the correct direction early. Not only did he save the penalty but he also pushed it well away from the onrushing swarm of Chievo players to clear the danger.

Strangely enough, the red card seemed to kick Roma’s offense into a higher gear as they redoubled their efforts to close the game. And boy, did they put the game away in style.

Stephan El Shaarawy: 65th minute

What a gorgeous goal by El Shaarawy who had been a threat all game. This was a brilliant individual effort by the Italian international who picked up a loose ball inside the Roma half, dribbled all the way to the Chievo goal, nutmegged the last defender and poked the finish past Sorrentino into the far post! A stunning solo goal which confirmed all three points for Roma. But wait.. there was more.

Edin Džeko: 67th minute

Extraordinary. Just a couple minutes after El Shaarawy’s goal, Dzeko got into the act again with his second goal of the game. This is the kind of build-up play you expect in a video game. Watch how Allison starts this attack with a great throw out to the half-line where Nainggolan collects the ball and plays the ball to Dzeko just outside the box. From here, Dzeko turns and curls and outstanding left footed finish past Sorrentino for Roma’s fourth. 8 seconds from one end to the other.

Chievo did pull a late goal back through Roberto Inglese ruining Allison’s clean sheet but it was too little too late for Chievo as Roma sealed three vital points comfortably.

Conclusions

An almost perfect performance to start the weekend as we now wait and watch what the other rivals for third place do. For EdF and co., they now have three days off before they face off against Liverpool on Wednesday trying to recreate yet another magical European night. Join us for all the build-up and action for that game, but until then Grazie Roma!