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Highlights of Roma's 3-1 Win Over Udinese

With a goal and an assist in today's victory over Udinese, Paulo Dybala reminded us all how dangerous Roma can be when fully fit. One win, three points, and up into 5th place we go!

AS Roma v Udinese Calcio - Serie A TIM Photo by Silvia Lore/Getty Images

There was a time, not that long ago, when Roma vs. Udinese meant one thing: Francesco Totti vs. Antonio Di Natale. Two of Italy's finest forwards spent over a decade battling it out in Serie A. And no matter where their clubs fell on the table, the Totti-Toto show was always top billing.

While those days are gone, Roma's 3-1 victory over Udinese this afternoon was fueled in large part by Paulo Dybala, arguably the most talented player to step foot in the Stadio Olimpico since Totti retired. And what's more, with Romelu Lukaku and Lorenzo Pellegrini by his side, Dybala finally had a bit of help. José Mourinho's side was by no means fully fit, but this was the closest thing we've seen to Roma's peak product since the season began.

And with yet another sell-out crowd urging them on, a vein of optimism surged through the Stadio Olimpico this evening. Dybala may not have drawn first blood, but his inch-perfect free-kick caught Gianluca Mancini in stride, setting up the veteran centerback's second goal of the season—his first since Roma's 7-0 thrashing of Empoli in mid-September.

Roma controlled nearly 70% of the ball through the rest of the first half but failed to pad their lead before the halftime whistle. The opening stages of the second half would see Udinese probing the Roma defense, with Florian Thauvin and Wallace testing Rui Patricio within the first several minutes of the new half.

Thauvin, though, would make his presence felt shortly after that. With the play slowly developing on the left flank, Thauvin surreptitiously snuck behind Leonardo Spinazzola at the right post, scoring a somewhat off-balanced header as Spinazzola and Evan N'Dicka glanced at each other, each presumably wondering who was marking Thauvin.

Still, with 30 minutes left to play, Roma liked their chances and bided their tie, waiting for an opportunity to strike. Bryan Cristante came a whisker away from scoring a sensational headed goal near the edge of the area in the 77th minute, but the Giallorossi wouldn't have to wait long for a match-winner.

Roma had the ball at midfield when Edoardo Bove received it roughly fifty yards from the goal. Bove quickly passed the ball ahead to Sardar Azmoun, who then found Lukaku positioned at the edge of the area. Lukaku cleverly played a backheel pass to Dybala, who was already making a run towards the penalty area. Although the ball was played slightly behind Dybala, he was able to control it and sprint towards the goal, pulling Marco Silvestri off his line before slotting it home.

Stephan El Shaarawy would add one of his patented curled shots towards the opposite post to put the match on ice, with Roma securing three points and moving into fifth place on the table, a mere three points out of the vaunted top four.