Roma's perfect start to the season continued on Sunday with a five-nil romp over seventh-place Sampdoria. The Giallorosse have held historical serve over Samp for the past several years, winning their last four fixtures by a combined 13-1 scoreline. Still, the Blucerchiati gave Roma quite a scare today, keeping Alessandro Spugna's vaunted attack in check for nearly 45 minutes.
With Spugna trotting out a lineup that featured Valentina Giacinti, Evelyne Viens, and reigning MVP Emilie Haavi up top, the Giallorosse seemed poised to feast on a Sampdoria defense that conceded eight goals in its first four matches.
After a brief settling-in period, Roma nearly scored in the 11th minute when Manuela Giugliano got on the end of a pinpoint cross from Haavi. While the header looked like it was struck cleanly, Giugliano pushed it just wide of the mark, watching in disbelief as the ball struck the goalpost.
Samp would punch back about 10 minutes later, forcing Roma keeper Camelia Ceasar into an acrobatic diving save to her left. The diminutive Romanian keeper needed every inch of her frame to deny the stinging effort from out wide and barely managed to get a finger to it. Undaunted, Ceasar popped back up and made another save on a follow-up attempt.
Ceasar was pressed into service 10 minutes later when Sampdoria split open the Roma defense with a quick give-and-go, paving the way for a cheeky goal at the near post. But, as she often does, Ceasar reacted quickly, dropping down to smother the post and deny Taty's low effort.
With 45 minutes come and gone, Roma seemed content to head into the locker room scoreless and ready to regroup for the second half, but they soon found paydirt from a somewhat unexpected source.
After patiently working the ball back and forth and side to side, the ball eventually found Elena Linari some 25 yards out, giving Roma's star defender ample time to make a decision: Would she play a through ball into Giacinti, who was darting into the penalty box, swing it out wide or call her own number?
Linari chose the latter, and she chose wisely, unfurling a beautifully struck left-footed shot, burying the ball in the upper right-hand corner, giving the keeper zero chance to make a save.
Linari's goal precipitated a second-half deluge for Roma, who pumped four more goals past the Sampdoria defense, including a brace from Valentia Giacinti, a great run-behind-the-defense goal from Viens, and a last-minute PK from Linari.
If you missed any of the action, please enjoy the match highlights.