A spectacular strike from Pedro Rodriguez proved enough to give Roma their first victory of the season, but Udinese will rue so many wasted chances.
The Friulani didn’t have a single point or goal scored from two rounds, losing at home to 10-man Spezia, so coach Luca Gotti made changes with new signing Roberto Pereyra thrown straight into the XI. The Giallorossi were stuttering too, drawing 2-2 with 10-man Juventus, still missing Javier Pastore and Nicolò Zaniolo, with Diego Perotti flying out for his Fenerbahce transfer.
There was a huge chance on 15 minutes when Leonardo Spinazzola’s taut cross from the left found Lorenzo Pellegrini from five yards, but desperate defending from Pereyra managed to somehow prevent the tap-in.
It was surprisingly open with chances for both sides, including a Pedro free header, Antonio Mirante’s great save on Kevin Lasagna after a corner and Edin Dzeko ballooning over after he’d shrugged off his marker from a Roger Ibanez ball over the top.
Ouwejan also came close, his effort flashing across the face of goal from the left with nobody able to get on the end of it, Lasagna sliding in a fraction of a second too late.
Lasagna did get to the Rodrigo De Paul cross soon after, but could only turn it over the bar as he slid in at the back post from six yards.
The biggest double opportunity was just before half-time, as De Paul sent Lasagna clear on goal, he hesitated and allowed Mirante to block, the ball fell to Pereyra, whose lob was cleared off the line by Gianluca Mancini.
The deadlock was eventually broken by a moment of magic from Pedro, his first Serie A goal. Udinese gave it away cheaply, but he still had a lot of work to do and hit a rocket from outside the box that swerved around Juan Musso to bounce in off the inside of the near post.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan had the ball in the net again with a wonderful lob, but was clearly offside at the end of an impressive team move. So was Okaka when incredibly prodding over the bar from six yards.
Udinese started to pin Roma back, Mirante requiring a spectacular double save on Lasagna and the Fernando Forestieri follow-up, then Okaka turning Ibanez to go clear yet incredibly scuff the finish wide from 10 yards.
Mirante came to Roma’s rescue again, flying to palm the Nahuel Molina volley out from the near top corner after Lorenzo Pellegrini’s defensive error in the penalty area.
Spinazzola made a crucial interception to stop the Ouwejan cross from meeting Forestieri’s head in the six-yard box, as Roma clung on for the points and Udinese failed to score for the third game in a row.
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