What a game to make my Chiesa Di Totti comeback! After three years in exile, I am happy to be back and writing about my first love, Roma. The Giallorossi make it two wins out of two in Serie A and four wins out of four in all competitions under Mourinho, turning on the style after a pedestrian first half.
312 total passes to 26 total passes. That about sums up the first half, in which we saw Salernitana put everybody behind the ball, content to cede possession to Roma and hoping to hit on the counter. Roma, with 77% possession for the half, failed to create much of anything, often relying on the midfield attempting to thread the needle on a pass into Tammy Abraham, or relying on Carles Perez beating his man and firing in a cross. Ultimately, aside from a 15th-minute volley attempt from Abraham, and some nice combination play at the top of the box towards the end of the half, Roma’s offensive performance left much to be desired. A high boot from Salernitana’s Bonazzoli in the 35th minute was the other memorable moment of the half, as Bonazzoli escaped with only a yellow card, in an action that very well could have resulted in a red.
What a difference a second-half makes! Roma came out firing on all cylinders, and as early as the 48th minute, completely flipped the script from the first half, when a Matías Viña cross was wonderfully brought down by Lorenzo Pellegrini, who then turned and shot a ball that squirmed under the Salernitana keeper for the first goal of the game.
Lorenzo Pellegrini: 48th Minute (Salernitana 0, Roma 1)
Lorenzo Pellegrini gets Roma’s first goal pic.twitter.com/F81nrS1ZnC— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 29, 2021
Roma did not have to wait long for their second goal of the game when just four minutes later Veretout scored following some slick combination play, where Peres fired a ball into Abraham, who one-timed it to Mkhitaryan, who then played in Veretout for the goal.
Jordan Veretout: 52nd Minute (Salernitana 0, Roma 2)
Beautiful team play as Roma double their lead pic.twitter.com/j4FhIwe7MG— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 29, 2021
To their credit, Roma continued to play aggressively and push for a third goal, forcing some excellent saves from the Salernitana keeper, and in the 69th minute, Tammy Abraham scored his first goal for the club with a wonderful curling effort after a ball from Peres found him at the top of the box.
Tammy Abraham: 69th Minute (Salernitana 0, Roma 3)
Tammy Abraham scores his first goal for Roma pic.twitter.com/xpyuuYJ8tz— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 29, 2021
Goal number four arrived in the 79th minute, as Lorenzo Pellegrini curled in a ball from the edge of the box for his second of the night, following an incisive pass from Veretout from the corner flag. From that point on, Roma controlled the game till the final whistle and earned a well-deserved three points.
Lorenzo Pellegrini: 79th Minute (Salernitana 0, Roma 4)
What a strike!— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 29, 2021
Lorenzo Pellegrini makes it 4 for Roma pic.twitter.com/KJ6dISfuMe
The first-half was essentially your standard Roma first-half against the weaker Serie A sides, in which they dominate possession, concede a few chances on the counter, and offer little by way of the end product. Perez's aggressiveness was certainly a bright spot and encouraging, as was Viña’s defensive performance. Credit to Mourinho and the players for coming out in the second half determined to score and getting two in relatively quick succession to take a stranglehold of the game.
Tammy Abraham scoring his first goal for the club was wonderful to see, he has clearly brought a completely different dynamic for Roma offensively, so it was a much-deserved goal for the Englishman. Pellegrini and Veretout also bossed it today, with both players continuing their good run of form. While Roma’s performance offensively in the first half may be cause concern for some Roma fans, and while there may be some validity to that in terms of the consequences of that happening against the stronger sides, ultimately Roma did what they had to do, which was put a bunch of goals in against a likely bottom of the table side, and secure the three points.
The international break. Roma resumes Serie A play on September 12th against Sassuolo.