Roma fought hard and rode their luck at times to take a precious 3-1 victory away from Hellas Verona, with Justin Kluivert, Diego Perotti and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The Giallorossi needed a win in the battle for the top four, but had Nicolò Zaniolo suspended, with Javier Pastore, Bryan Cristante and Davide Zappacosta injured, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nikola Kalinic weren’t fit to start. Verona were in eighth place and doing remarkably well for a newly-promoted club, fresh from beating Fiorentina. Miguel Veloso wasn’t fit enough to start, with Marash Kumbulla and Daniel Bessa ruled out.
The deadlock was broken after 17 minutes with Lorenzo Pellegrini’s eighth assist of the season in all competition. His chipped through ball was inspired to send Kluivert down the left and the Dutchman nutmegged Marco Silvestri from a tight angle.
It didn’t last long, as Verona equalised within four minutes. Mattia Zaccagni floated a perfect ball to the back post, where Marco Davide Faraoni didn’t even have to jump, simply steer the header in.
Samuel Di Carmine had the ball in the net again moments later with a spectacular volley into the far bottom corner, but the Verona striker was flagged offside.
Pellegrini’s volley into the ground bounced over from an Aleksandar Kolarov cross at the by-line, then Rrahmani’s header on a corner clipped the outside of the post.
Kluivert sprinted to barge into Zaccagni and injured his thigh in the process, limping off in favour of Diego Perotti.
Verona had the ball in the net again on 38 minutes, when Darko Lazovic pulled back from the by-line for Faraoni to blast in from 14 yards. However, after a lengthy VAR check, it was confirmed he was marginally offside. There were also doubts about whether the ball had completely crossed the line on the assist.
Just as Verona were pouring forward, Roma restored their advantage. Edin Dzeko was clumsily hauled down by Koray Gunter for a penalty, which substitute Perotti coolly converted.
The Giallorossi tried to sit on their lead after the break, allowing Verona to keep possession for long periods, but Pellegrini forced a save on the counter-attack.
Silvestri got his fingertips to a Mkhitaryan cross-shot, while Eddie Salcedo’s chest and volley on the turn was stylistically great, but offside.
Giampaolo Pazzini made his comeback from injury and there was a huge scare at the 85th minute when the referee awarded a penalty for Chris Smalling’s handling offence. However, the offside flag was up and confirmed via VAR, so the decision was revoked.
There was another Verona offside on a Pazzini chance in stoppages, but Roma secured the victory with a counter-attack. Pellegrini was again involved, his through ball sending Perotti into the box, drawing defenders, then prodded an assist with the outside of the boot for Mkhitaryan to fire in from seven yards.
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