SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 24 - 11 Feb 2018 (19.45 UK)
Roma 5 - 2
Guilherme 7 (B), Fazio 26 (R), Dzeko 60 (R), Cengiz Under 62, 75 (R), Brignola 76 (B), Defrel pen 92 (R)
Stadio Olimpico

Roma fought back after a shock Benevento opener to win 5-2 and leap into fourth place with Cengiz Under’s brace and assist.

The Giallorossi ended their dire run of results with a win at Verona last week and now leapfrog rivals Lazio into the Champions League places. They were forced into changes, as Radja Nainggolan and Lorenzo Pellegrini were suspended, Maxime Gonalons, Rick Karsdorp and Jonathan Silva injured, Daniele De Rossi not fully fit and Bruno Peres frozen out for crashing his car. Le Streghe were revamped in January, but Danilo Cataldi and Luca Antei were sidelined.

It was a shock start, because Benevento took the lead within seven minutes at the Stadio Olimpico. Guilherme took on three defenders single-handed and his finish took a deflection off Kostas Manolas to dribble into the far bottom corner. It was the ideal way for Guilherme to get his debut Serie A goal, just one day after the birth of son Enzo.

Benevento were the only side in Europe without a single away point all season and it was only their fourth goal on their travels, the first in 528 minutes of away football.

Edin Dzeko’s header was palmed off the line by Christian Puggioni, who got down quickly, then the striker saw another effort ricochet off Nicolas Viola’s shoulder.

Roma did get back on level terms when an Aleksandar Kolarov free kick found Federico Fazio’s free header into the near top corner.

Stephan El Shaarawy nodded a corner wide, but former Tottenham midfielder Sandro made a decisive sliding tackle just as Perotti was pulling the trigger on the edge of the box.

El Shaarawy sprung the offside trap to sting Puggioni’s gloves at the near post, but Benevento were more than in the match at half-time.

Straight after the restart, Dzeko nodded a corner just wide from six yards, then he turned the game around completely with a header in off the underside of the bar. Cengiz Under deserves much of the credit for his change of pace to sprint to the by-line and float in a marvellous cross.

The 20-year-old Turkey international got his name on the scoresheet moments later, as Perotti pulled back for his well-taken shot mid-run into the near bottom corner from 14 yards.

Roma had not scored more than one goal per game since beating SPAL 3-1 on December 1.

Benevento gave former Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna his Serie A debut, but it was Under who stole the limelight with his second goal.

The Monchi purchase curled a stunning left-foot strike from the edge of the box, bending at an alarming rate to go in off the inside of the near post.

He had barely finished celebrating when Benevento got one back, as Cristiano Lombardi pulled back from the right and Enrico Brignola got in front of his marker to side-foot home.

It still wasn’t over, as deep into stoppages Dzeko’s low cross was charged down by Djimsiti’s hand during the mistaken attempt at a sliding block. Dzeko generously handed the penalty to Gregoire Defrel, who converted for his debut Roma goal.

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Roma: Alisson; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Strootman, Gerson; Cengiz Under (De Rossi 82), Perotti (Schick 88), El Shaarawy (Defrel 55); Dzeko
: Puggioni; Letizia (Sagna 72), Djimsiti, Costa, Venuti; Viola, Sandro; Djuricic (Del Pinto 78), Guilherme, D’Alessandro (Lombardi 60); Brignola
Ref: Manganiello