Emotions in the Eternal City were high today as Roma played host to 18th-place Cagliari. Not only did today's fixture match a pair of Romans on the touchlines, Daniele De Rossi vs. his former manager Claudio Ranieri, but the Stadio Olimpico was in full voice as the sold-out crowd paid tribute to club legend Giacomo Losi, who passed yesterday at the age of 88.
While we can quibble about the level of the opponent, and indeed even their second-half swoons against Hellas Verona and Salernitana, there's no doubt about it: Roma looks reborn under De Rossi. Whether it was the change in formation or simply his gravity as a club legend, the Giallorossi have shed their previously reserved and indecisive approach in favor of De Rossi's frenetic, end-to-end approach.
Cagliari aren't exactly worldbeaters, but after easing up a bit too much in the second halves against Verona and Salernitana, Roma needed a no-doubter today—to leave no doubt in anyone's mind they came to win and win decisively.
With the refrains of Roma, Roma, Roma still echoing throughout the Olimpico, club captain and local boy Lorenzo Pellegrini got the party started after only 70 seconds, poking home a loose ball off a Paulo Dybala corner kick, setting the stage for a rollicking evening in Rome.
Paulo Dybala would double Roma's pleasure in the 23rd minute, finishing off a beautiful six-touch move (one he started with a brilliant dummy) by slotting home a back-heeled pass from Pellegrini.
Cagliari managed to stem the tide for the ensuing 20 minutes, but Roma blew the doors off the building in the second half, adding goals from Dybala (PK) and a debut strike from Dutch defender Dean Huijsen, who rose high to head home a Leandro Paredes corner kick in the 59th minute.
While Roma had a fifth goal disallowed for offside, the Giallorossi achieved what they set out to do: turn in a dominant 90-minute display.
If you missed any of the action, please enjoy the highlights.