Mattia Destro gave Roma a hard-fought and surprisingly tense 1-0 victory in Pescara on Coach Cristiano Bergodi’s debut.
Zdenek Zeman returned to face the club he helped to promotion from Serie B last summer and did so on the day he marked his 100th official game on the Roma bench. The Delfini have not fared well without ZZ, as Giovanni Stroppa resigned last week and Bergodi – who worked as a defender with Zeman at Lazio – made his Serie A management debut.
Daniele De Rossi continued his three-match ban, joined by the injured Erik Lamela, Rodrigo Taddei and Maarten Stekelenburg, so Mattia Destro and Miralem Pjanic had rare starts. Pescara had a host of absentees, as Damiano Zanon, Marco Capuano and Emmanuel Cascione were all suspended with Giuseppe Colucci and Manuele Blasi sidelined.
Roma took the lead after just five minutes, as a fierce Francesco Totti free kick from 35 metres was beaten away by Mattia Perin into the path of Destro for an easy tap-in. It was his second goal in a Giallorossi jersey.
Perin had his palms stung by another long-range Totti free kick. Mauro Goicoechea ran a huge risk when misjudging a cross, but did enough to tackle Francesco Modesto cleanly on the loose ball.
Roma had two scoring opportunities in quick succession on the half-hour mark. First Destro nodded Totti’s cross and Perin flew to palm it out from under the bar. On the resulting corner, Marquinhos missed the target.
The Giallorossi wasted several promising moves when their forwards and midfielders seemed to misunderstand each other, as passes went into empty spaces and players ran in the other direction.
Straight after the restart Florenzi thumped a right-foot screamer inches past the post, but Destro twice went close to adding a second goal to his tally for the afternoon.
Destro sprung the offside trap and seemed to be confused by Pablo Daniel Osvaldo’s position, volleying off target. Moments later Destro again sprinted into the box and was denied by Perin’s outstretched foot from point-blank range.
Totti curled just wide with Perin rooted to the spot and Destro’s glancing header whistled past the post. Florenzi suddenly collapsed and requested a substitution due to a muscular problem.
Perin beat away another powerful Totti attempt, but Ivan Piris was decisive in charging down an Elvis Abbruscato half-volley from 10 yards.
Abbruscato should’ve scored in the final minutes when Vladimir Weiss charged forward on the counter and rolled across, but the striker’s finish was deflected out for a corner off Piris.