After sailing past Sparta Prague and into the Champions League Group Stage earlier this week, Roma turned their attention back to their domestic duties. Thanks to another disappointing defeat to Juventus, the Giallorosse's early-season title hopes took a hit, but a second-half comeback against Fiorentina last weekend has set Alessandro Spugna's side back on the right foot, a trend that continued today when Roma hosted Parma in front of a sold-out crowd at Trigoria.
With his side still dealing with injuries in defense and fatigue from an intense Champions League qualification campaign, Spugna was forced to mix and match his starting eleven today. Goalkeeper Camelia Ceasar was given a rest in favor of Emma Lind, while Norma Cinotti, Giada Greggi, and Sophie Roman Haug each joined the starting eleven alongside stalwarts Elisa Bartoli, Valentina Giacinti, and Manuela Giugliano, among others.
Despite those concerns, Roma didn't waste much time today, putting Parma out of their misery early and often, so let's look at the Giallorosse's fistful of goals today.
Emilie Haavi: 16th Minute (Roma 1, Parma 0)
Roma got a bit of a break here thanks to a deflected ball, but the chance didn't go wasted thanks to a heads-up play from Haavi. With the ball taking an unexpected turn, Haavi did well to spot the ball, predict its trajectory, and put herself in a position to lash it past the keeper. Excellent positioning, great reaction, and great technique from Haavi—we've come to expect nothing less from the Norwegian forward.
But Haavi wasn't done yet...
Sophie Roman Haug: 29th Minute (Roma 2, Parma 0)
Having just finished a chance, Haavi turned creator here, putting the defender on skates as she drove the ball in from the left flank. After carving out space on the left edge of the box, Haavi deftly chipped a ball in the opposite direction, placing it just out of the defender's reach and finding her countrywoman, Haug, for the textbook header at the far post. And top marks to Haug for tracking the ball, timing her jump, and beating the keeper—this wasn't an easy chance to convert by any means.
But Valentina Giacinti wasn't about to let the Norwegians have all the fun at Trigoria today.
Valentina Giacinti: 33rd Minute (Roma 3, Parma 0)
With three goals in her first four league appearances, Giacinti's Roma career has gotten off to a flying start. So far, we've seen her subtle off-the-ball movement, aerial intuition, and strong right foot, but this goal was something else entirely. I mean, chipping the keeper from 25-yards out, who knew she had that up her sleeve? Week by week, Giacinti proves she was the perfect addition to this squad.
Simply a sensational goal from Roma's new number nine, but Haug and Haavi would get the final word in this one.
Emilie Haavi: 61st Minute (Roma 4, Parma 0)
First, what a sensational assist from Giacinti, who shielded the defender while one-timing/flicking the ball onto Haavi in one smooth motion; that's not an easy play under any circumstances, let alone with a defender draped all over you. From there, Haavi settled the ball, transitioned it from her right to left foot, carved out shooting space, and buried the ball in the back of the net. This sequence was so quick it nearly belied the skill required from Giacinti and Haavi to create and finish this chance—simply remarkable stuff from two players only getting to know each other.
And last but certainly not least, Haug finished the match with a flourish.
Sophie Roman Haug: 88th Minute (Roma 5, Parma 0)
With four goals and two assists in only 213 minutes last season, our first glimpses of Haug, a now 23-year-old Norwegian striker, were incredibly promising. And with three strikes in her first five appearances this season, Haug seems poised to take the next step this year, proving that she belongs in a crowded forward rotation alongside Giacinti and Paloma Lázaro. While there was nothing out of the ordinary here, Haug rose above a crowd of defenders for the second time this afternoon and beat the keeper with a perfectly placed header.
Thanks to their victory today, Roma heads into the international break trailing first place Inter Milan by only one point. With matches against Sassuolo and Como after the break, Roma will face the Nerazzurre on the road on October 28th, and if everything goes according to plan, they could reclaim the top spot before the end of the month.