Alessandro Florenzi marked his comeback with a wonderful assist, Edin Dzeko bagged a brace and Patrik Schick made his debut as Roma crushed Verona.
The Giallorossi’s campaign was stop-start under Eusebio Di Francesco, as they lost to Inter after hitting the woodwork three times, their trip to Sampdoria was rained off and Alisson performed heroics for a 0-0 Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid. Cengiz Under, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Stephan El Shaarawy were given their first starts of the season, but above all Florenzi returned almost a year after tearing his ACL in October 2016 and again in February 2017. Verona were fresh from a 5-0 humiliation by Fiorentina and launched Juventus-owned Moise Kean in attack.
In the opening 90 seconds, Pellegrini flicked up a pass for El Shaarawy’s chest and volley, well blocked by Nicolas, then the ex-Sassuolo midfielder’s strike was fingertipped over the bar.
Nicolas rushed off his line and did just enough to put off Edin Dzeko, who had dribbled around him only to narrow the angle too much. The Bosnian went close again moments later, using his strength to shrug off two tackles and testing Nicolas.
Cengiz Under ran on to a wonderful Radja Nainggolan pass off the outside of his boot and the Turkish 20-year-old’s strike cracked against the near post.
There were weather warnings in Rome for this evening and they proved entirely accurate, as a tropical storm exploded 15 minutes in, complete with lightning and thunder.
They finally got the breakthrough when El Shaarawy rolled in an inspired pass for Nainggolan to finish undisturbed.
Daniel Bessa drilled just past the near post, but Florenzi marked his comeback with a sensational assist. He cut inside on his right foot to commit a defender, whipped in the cross with his left for Dzeko’s free header.
On the stroke of half-time, another Florenzi free kick found El Shaarawy at the far stick, but his volley was deflected.
Aleksandar Kolarov’s free kick was just over, then his low pass was placed perfectly from the left flank for Dzeko to slide on to and complete his brace from eight yards.
Samuel Souprayen added to the awful Hellas night by getting his second yellow card for an entirely avoidable foul on Pellegrini.
Cengiz Under fired over after running clear and Dzeko failed to get his hat-trick by prodding wide of the near post, while Alex Ferrari got a toe to turn El Shaarawy’s strike off target.
Substitute Giampaolo Pazzini thought he’d got a consolation goal, but was marginally offside on the lob.
Eusebio Di Francesco gave summer signing Patrik Schick his debut after a complex few months, as the ex-Sampdoria striker’s move to Juventus fell apart when a slight cardiac issue was discovered in his medical. Within 60 seconds of coming off the bench, Schick’s scorcher stung Nicolas’ gloves.
The terrible nature of Verona’s performance was summed up in the final minutes when Ferrari was kicked in the ankle by his own teammate Marco Fossati, but El Shaarawy still couldn’t score.
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Sent off: Souprayen 65 (V)