We spent the week building up this game for Verona’s excellent defensive record, and we weren’t the only ones. None of the major networks or pundits fancied a high-scoring game here, and no one was particularly willing to hang their hat on a Roma win either. But football is largely a game of chance and circumstance, so Roma’s win over Verona today can be classified as one of those games where all the “experts” got it wrong. Except, of course, for the eleven men in Roma shirts on the field.
Roma took the opening quarter of an hour to really get their feet under the table at the Stadio Olimpico this evening but never looked back for the rest of the first half. Increasing pressure on Verona’s goal eventually paid off with a flurry of goals for the home side, all scored between the 20th and 29th minute.
Roma carved out the opener thanks to a Gianluca Mancini header on Roma corner, and that seemed like that lit the touchpaper for Verona to try and hit back for an equalizer, but the Mastiffs would get punished yet again just two minutes later as Roma worked an early ball up to Borja Mayoral, to put the Spanish striker through on goal against an on-rushing Silvestri.
The Spaniard couldn’t beat Silvestri himself, so instead ended up feeding Henrikh Mkhitaryan for 2-0, and we can’t understate how much of a good finish it was from Mkhitaryan. Five minutes after racking up yet another assist, however, Mayoral would get on the scoresheet himself for Roma’s third goal of the evening.
But it wasn’t all smiles, as the Giallorossi threw away a cleansheet in the second half by conceding Ebrima Colley’s strike to bring Verona back in with a chance at 3-1. To add some more blemishes to the result, Chris Smalling limped off the pitch with an injury and Lorenzo Pellegrini got himself suspended for the away trip to Juventus.
Yet 3-1 was how the scoreline would stay until the final whistle, with new signing Stephan El Shaarawy and Bryan Reynolds watching happily in the stands, alongside club talisman Edin Dzeko. Borja Mayoral keeps his Serie A minutes-per-goal ratio at 81, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is still the second-most dangerous attacker in all of European football (in terms of assists and goals) aside from Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes.