With just eight matches left in the league this season, Roma is inching ever closer to a Champions League berth. The Giallorossi’s 3-0 win over Udinese gave Roma some measure of revenge after Udinese won the last fixture, but most importantly, the result sees Roma go five points clear of 5th place Inter Milan. The two sides go head-to-head in just a few weeks, so this is a massive result that sees Roma consolidate their hold on 3rd place.
After an exhausting match against Feyenoord in midweek, José Mourinho opted for rotation, with Diego Llorente, Edoardo Bove, and Zeki Çelik all getting the start in this one.
The first half was a dull affair up until the half-hour mark of the match. A Wijnaldum effort on goal was saved for a corner, with the subsequent corner attempt hitting a Udinese defender in the arm, resulting in a penalty for Roma.
Bryan Cristante would step up to the spot, only to see his effort hit the post. However, Edoardo Bove was positioned perfectly for the ensuing rebound, getting to the ball first and firing it home to give the Giallorossi the lead on the evening.
While the second half was set up to be a nervy affair given the one-goal advantage, the Giallorossi were eager to avoid having to sweat the result. And just ten minutes into the second half, Roma doubled their advantage, with Andrea Belotti taking the ball up-field and threading a pass through several Udinese defenders to find an unmarked Lorenzo Pellegrini, who made no mistake and slotted the ball home with just the keeper to beat.
Given what we know about Roma’s defense this season, a two-goal lead felt ironclad, and Roma seemed well on their way to another three points. But as they say, a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead in football, and sure enough, as we approached the 70th-minute mark, Gianluca Mancini was called for a handball in the box, gifting Udinese an opportunity to get back into the match.
Udinese’s Roberto Pereya would step up to the spot and, with the momentum of the match in the balance, see his shot smothered by Rui Patricio to maintain Roma’s advantage.
With the result ostensibly wrapped up with a two-goal lead, you’d think five minutes of extra time would be tame and see Roma pass the ball around till the final whistle blew. However, Roma would have other ideas, as Leonardo Spinazzola would streak up-field and, at the top of the box, send in a cross to Tammy Abraham, who expertly guided the ball into the back of the net for his seventh league goal of the season.
With the game effectively killed off at 3-0, the Roma faithful began to sing in celebration as the focus now turns to a massive second-leg clash against Feyenoord.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the highlights below. The official league highlights are available here.