Erling, who? After a last-minute defeat to RB Salzburg in the Europa League in midweek, the Giallorossi bounce back in arguably one of their most fluid attacking performances of the season, securing all three points at home against Verona thanks to an Ola Solbakken first-half goal, the Norwegian making his first league start since joining the club.
With Paulo Dybala and Lorenzo Pellegrini absent from the starting eleven due to injury, combined with Tammy Abraham reportedly being a question mark to start due to flu-like symptoms, you had the distinct feeling that this match was going to be one of those classic Roma games where they inconceivably drop points.
Ultimately, Tammy was able to overcome his symptoms to some degree, as he was named in the starting lineup, but regrettably, the Englishman wouldn’t be on the pitch for long, as he was forced out and replaced by Andrea Belotti following a Gianluca Mancini boot to the face just fifteen minutes into the match.
Despite the absence of arguably their three best offensive players, Roma was a consistent threat when going forward, the play mainly going through Leonardo Spinazzola and with the work rate of Belotti combing well with the pace and ability of Ola Solbakken and Stephan El Shaarawy.
And just as the Giallorossi noticeably started ratcheting up the pressure on the Verona goal, Roma began playing some beautiful one-touch football, culminating with Leonardo Spinazzola providing the delicate back heel to Ola Solbakken as he made his run into the box, who made no mistake and slotted the ball home with his left foot to give Roma the lead on the night.
Buoyed from the confidence that came from Ola’s goal, the Giallorossi looked increasingly likely to add a second, playing some of the most fluid attacking football they have all season.
The half ended without Roma adding to their lead, but you had to love the performance, particularly after their heartbreaking Europa League defeat.
Despite having a stranglehold on the match to close the first half with their aggressive and fluid attacking play, the Giallorossi opted to revert to type in the second half—content conceding pressure to Verona and looking to get their second when hitting on the counter.
Of course, this made for several nervy moments as Verona pushed for an equalizer, but by and large, Roma held firm and stifled any threat Verona created, holding out for a vintage Mourinho 1-0 win.
Roma’s best chance half of the second half came minutes away from full time, as a corner attempt found Roger Ibañez at the back of the post, who then headed it back towards goal where Andrea Belotti was able to connect for a powerful header on target. Still, the Verona keeper was able to get back across the goal and cruelly deny Il Gallo a much-deserved goal.
Don’t look now, but thanks to Lecce’s win over Atalanta, the victory moves Roma to third in the table behind Napoli and Inter.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the highlights below. The official league highlights are available here.