With José Mourinho watching from the stands due to suspension and Roma working on short rest after a difficult 90 minutes against Monza on Sunday, a positive result against Slavia Prague in today's Europa League fixture at the Stadio Olimpico was far from assured, doubly so when you consider star playmaker Paulo Dybala's absence and the looming match against top-of-the-table Inter Milan this weekend.
However, any worries that Roma would suffer a midweek hangover, scuppering their four-match win streak in the process, was rendered moot almost immediately. With the refrains of Roma, Roma, Roma still echoing in their ears, the Giallorossi busted open the match in the first minute when local boy Edoardo Bove scored a cracking goal after only 44 seconds, bending the ball into the corner of the goal from 20 yards out.
Slavia Prague managed to recoup from that initial jolt, but Romelu Lukaku doubled their misery in the 17th minute, paving the way for another potential Roma rout. And while the deluge of goals never came, Roma held serve most of the evening, content to sit back and absorb the Slavia pressure until the final whistle. Still, the Giallorossi were inches away from a third goal when a Stephan El Shaarawy curler struck the uprights, denying SES a one-goal, two-assist performance.
Despite the bombastic start, this match was relatively inert for large swaths of the evening, with both clubs combining for 16 shots. In the end, Roma's efficiency in front of goal and rigidity behind was enough to seal the deal, vaulting the Giallorossi to the top of Group G.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the extended highlights.