Edin Dzeko scored his first Champions League hat-trick, as Roma crushed Viktoria Plzen 5-0 with Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert also on target.
The Giallorossi lost heavily at Real Madrid, but were feeling confident after victories over Frosinone and arch rivals Lazio. Kostas Manolas wasn’t even on the bench due to flu symptoms, while Aleksandar Kolarov played on despite a fractured little toe. Daniele De Rossi, Diego Perotti and Javier Pastore were out injured. Viktoria Plzen started their Champions League campaign with a 2-2 draw at home to CSKA Moscow, but had been 2-0 up at half-time through a Michael Krmencik brace.
These sides had already met in the 2016-17 Europa League, when Roma won 4-1 at home with a Dzeko hat-trick and drew 1-1 away.
It took the Bosnian just three minutes to add another goal to that tally, as he sprung the offside trap and placed a precise left-foot angled drive into the far bottom corner.
Dzeko also fired wide of the near post and Justin Kluivert was blocked from a Cengiz Under assist, but Plzen also threatened, as Jan Kovarik got to the by-line and pulled back for Krmencik to blast over and Radim Reznik turned a free header wide from 12 yards.
Lorenzo Pellegrini flung himself at the Dzeko cross, just unable to make contact, but Cengiz Under smacked his long-range curler against the crossbar on 29 minutes.
The Turkish talent also set up the second goal, as Dzeko chested down his cross, let it bounce and smashed the half-volley with almost unnecessary ferocity into the roof of the net from six yards.
Alessandro Florenzi almost added a third on the stroke of half-time when sent clear by Pellegrini, but Matus Kozacik stuck out a toe to deflect the finish just past the far post.
Cengiz Under felt he was pushed in the back when nodding off target, then his assist for Dzeko was too close to the goalkeeper. Viktoria Plzen remained in it and Robin Olsen smothered a Prochazka strike, but Cengiz Under finally got his deserved goal when sent clear by a Pellegrini through ball, steering it into the far bottom corner with the inside of the left boot.
Dzeko would’ve had a hat-trick, but his powerful strike was deflected over the bar by Kozacik’s outstretched leg.
Pellegrini continued to have a remarkable game just days after a strong performance against Lazio, as his ball over the top found Cengiz Under for a finish that Kozacik only palmed into the path of Justin Kluivert for his debut Roma goal. He celebrated by holding up the jersey of Abdelhak Nouri, his former Ajax teammate who is still in hospital after a heart attack.
Federico Fazio’s header went in off the underside of the bar from a Florenzi free kick, but he was flagged offside in a very tight decision. Dzeko also forced another save from a tight angle and completed his hat-trick in stoppages with a header from a corner.
In a huge shock, Real Madrid were beaten 1-0 by CSKA Moscow this evening.
Roma 5-0 Viktoria Plzen
Dzeko 3, 40, 92 (R), Under 64 (R), Kluivert 73 (R)
Roma: Olsen; Florenzi, Fazio, Juan Jesus, Kolarov (Lu Pellegrini 75); Lo Pellegrini (Zaniolo 75), Nzonzi, Cristante; Under (Schick 75), Dzeko, Kluivert
Viktoria Plzen: Kozacik; Reznik, Hejda, Hubnik, Limbersky; Prochazka, Hrosovsky; Zeman (Ekpai 71), Horava (Kolar 65), Kovarik; Krmencik (Reznicek 78)
Ref: Raczkowski (POL)