Stephan El Shaarawy bagged a brace and Diego Perotti drilled in a scorcher as Roma crushed Chelsea 3-0 to go top of their Champions League group.
These sides played out a 3-3 thriller at Stamford Bridge and were still the top two in this group. Kostas Manolas was only fit for the bench, while Bruno Peres, Rick Karsdorp, Gregoire Defrel and Emerson Palmieri missed out. Antonio Conte was without Victor Moses and N’Golo Kante.
The Blues had lost the last three visits to Italian soil, winning only one out of nine attempts, 4-0 over Lazio in 2003-04.
It was the perfect possible start for the hosts, as in the opening minute Edin Dzeko knocked down an Aleksandar Kolarov assist for Stephan El Sharaawy to smash it into the near top corner from the D. At 44 seconds, it was Roma’s fastest ever Champions League goal.
Eden Hazard tested Alisson twice at the near post after mazy runs down the left, then Kolarov’s terrible pass was intercepted to send Alvaro Morata clear, the ex-Juventus striker ballooning over from point-blank range.
A David Luiz error sparked a counter, resulting in Thibaut Courtois using his legs to parry El Shaarawy’s angled drive.
It was only a warning, as moments later Antonio Rudiger against his old club let a long Radja Nainggolan ball bounce in front of him and El Shaarawy wasted no time, getting in front of his marker to flick it past Courtois into the far bottom corner.
Alisson flew to palm away a trademark Marcos Alonso curler from just inside the box.
Dzeko blasted over from a difficult angle after great work from Diego Perotti, but Chelsea switched to four at the back with Willian replacing Gary Cahill.
It made little difference, as Roma added a third when Diego Perotti cut inside past three defenders and picked his spot to droll into the near bottom corner with both power and precision.
Perotti should’ve made it 4-0 five minutes later, as Dzeko drew three defenders away and pulled it back only for unmarked Perotti to incredibly balloon over an empty net.
It was still all Roma, as Nainggolan’s snapshot stung the gloves of Courtois, as did a Dzeko free header from the resulting corner.
Remarkably, Atletico Madrid were held to a 1-1 home draw by Qarabag, so the Giallorossi are on the verge of qualification for the Round of 16.
Roma 3-0 Chelsea
El Shaarawy 1, 36 (R), Perotti 63 (R)
Roma: Alisson; Florenzi (Manolas 75), Fazio, Juan Jesus, Kolarov; Nainggolan, De Rossi, Strootman; El Shaarawy (Gerson 74), Dzeko, Perotti (Pellegrini 86)
Chelsea: Courtois; Rudiger, David Luiz, Cahill (Willian 55); Azpilicueta, Bakayoko, Fabregas (Drinkwater 71), Alonso; Pedro, Hazard; Morata (Batshuayi 75)
Ref: Eriksson (SWE)