Lorenzo Pellegrini scored a wonderful free kick and provided the assist for Roger Ibanez, as Roma overturned a Leonardo Pavoletti opener to conquer Cagliari.
Jose Mourinho sat out a touchline ban, but made no changes to the starting XI, having again frozen out unwanted Borja Mayoral, Amadou Diawara, Gonzalo Villar and Bryan Reynolds. The Sardinians wished they had so much choice, but Diego Godin, Nahitan Nandez, Kevin Strootman, Martin Caceres, Damir Ceter, Dalbert, Sebastian Walukiewicz and Marko Rog were injured.
Raoul Bellanova almost scored a stunning opener within 10 minutes, his great take on a cross-field pass and strike from a tight angle thumping the crossbar.
Following a corner, Matias Vina’s cross was flapped at by Alessio Cragno onto Tammy Abraham at the back post, the ricochet going wide.
It was Cagliari who broke the deadlock when Vina completely failed to cut out the Razvan Marin cross, so Leonardo Pavoletti reacted quicker than anyone to turn in from close range.
Pavoletti really should’ve made it 2-0, but failed to make the most of the low Alessandro Deiola cross after a Joao Pedro dummy, then Lorenzo Pellegrini somehow turned a Rick Karsdorp cross onto the bar as he came sliding in at the back post from close range.
Rui Patricio needed a great save to deny Pavoletti’s header and moments later Roma equalised, a Pellegrini corner finding Roger Ibanez to nod it into the ground, bouncing in off the inside of the back post.
Roma turned it around completely with a magnificent Pellegrini free kick, as he bent it over the wall and back inwards to the near top corner, giving Cragno no chance.
Zappa’s powerful strike was smothered by Rui Patricio, who also kept his cool to rush out and deny Joao Pedro in stoppages.
Cagliari 1-2 Roma
Pavoletti 52 (C), Ibanez 71 (R), Pellegrini 78 (R)