Kostas Manolas and Lorenzo Pellegrini gave Roma a precious 2-1 win away to 10-man CSKA Moscow, which practically puts them in the Champions League Round of 16.
The Giallorossi were joint top of the group going in with Real Madrid on six points, but CSKA were close behind on four, having beaten the reigning champions at the Luzhniki Stadium last month. Daniele De Rossi, Luca Pellegrini, Diego Perotti and Rick Karsdorp were still out of action, while the hosts missed Viktor Vasin, Kristiijan Bistrovic, Konstantin Kuchaev, Aleksandar Makarov and ex-Palermo striker Abel Hernandez.
It took all of four minutes to break the deadlock, as Lorenzo Pellegrini’s corner floated over Igor Akinfeev and Kostas Manolas soared above the crowd for a glancing header into the far top corner.
Mario Fernandes flew into a sliding tackle on Aleksandar Kolarov, but got an accidental knee in the back of the head as the Roma man went down and had to be stretchered off.
Nikola Vlasic drilled wide of the near post and Justin Kluivert made a clean tackle on Ivan Oblyakov in the penalty area. Alessandro Florenzi was in a more advanced role and should’ve made it 2-0 on the half-hour when sent clear on goal by Justin Kluivert, but he stumbled at the crucial moment and practically knocked it back to Akinfeev.
Kolarov’s free kick was palmed out of the near bottom corner and Edin Dzeko fired the rebound over from a tight angle.
CSKA had a great chance to equalise just before half-time, as Oblyakov again dribbled in from the right and his finish took a deflection off Manolas, looping up for Georgi Schennikov to nod over the practically empty net.
Straight after the restart, Kluivert’s pass found Dzeko relatively unmarked from 12 yards, but the Bosnian hesitated and the shot was eventually charged down.
Instead, the hosts got their equaliser, as Ilzat Akhmetov went on a strong run and set up Arnor Sigurdsson, who turned quickly to anticipate Davide Santon and swept into the far bottom corner.
However, moments later Hordur Magnusson brought down Kluivert just outside the penalty area for his second bookable offence, leaving CSKA down to 10 men.
Roma took immediate advantage, as Cristante’s attempted shot from the D was so scuffed that it turned into an assist for Lorenzo Pellegrini to put an angled drive past the on-rushing Akinfeev.
Dzeko wasted another golden opportunity with a weak finish at the goalkeeper and Federico Fazio nodded a Pellegrini free kick just wide.
Oblyakov was the last to give in and pounced on a Cristante error, but Robin Olsen did well to smother the shot. Roma ran perhaps too many risks against 10 men, but held on for a victory that puts them five points clear of CSKA Moscow.
CSKA Moscow 1-2 Roma
Manolas 4 (R), Sigurdsson 51 (C), Lo Pellegrini 59 (R)
CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev; Mario Fernandes (Schennikov 12), Becao, Magnusson, Nababkin; Oblyakov, Bijol, Akhmetov (Khosonov 76); Vlasic, Sigurdsson (Chernov 64); Chalov
Roma: Olsen; Santon, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Cristante, Nzonzi; Florenzi (Juan Jesus 87), Lo Pellegrini (Zaniolo 82), Kluivert (Under 70); Dzeko
Ref: Çakır (TUR)
Sent off: Magnusson 56 (C)
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/