SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 12 - 17 Dec 2020 (19.45 UK)
Roma 3 - 1 Torino
Mkhitaryan 27 (R), Veretout pen 43 (R), Pellegrini 58 (R), Belotti 73 (T)
Stadio Olimpico

Roma have caught Juventus in third place with their third straight victory, but Torino had Wilfried Singo sent off after just 14 minutes.

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The Giallorossi missed only suspended Bryan Cristante. Toro were in crisis, sitting bottom with Crotone, so Marco Giampaolo transformed his side. Salvatore Sirigu, Ricardo Rodriguez, Tomas Rincon and Nicolas Nkoulou were among those dropped, giving Vanja Milinkovic-Savic and Alessandro Buongiorno their first starts. Simone Zaza, Simone Verdi and Nicola Murru were injured.

Bruno Peres should’ve put Roma ahead after 11 minutes, but at the end of a fine team move including Leonardo Spinazzola nutmeg and Henrikh Mkhitaryan pull-back, the Brazilian hit a dreadful fresh-air shot undisturbed from 12 yards.

Torino’s night was immediately an uphill struggle, as Wilfried Singo managed to get two yellow cards in the opening 14 minutes. The second was somewhat harsh, as he and Spinazzola both went with feet raised to reach the ball, but the young wing-back was a little late.

After an inevitable siege, Roma broke through, as although Milinkovic-Savic did well to parry a Gianluca Mancini rocket, he could do nothing on Mkhitaryan’s follow-up from 10 yards, which bounced off the inside of the near post before he could react.

Spinazzola’s chest and half-volley shaved a coat of paint off the far post, but in the rare moments when Torino did get the ball, they gave it away again. On one such occasion, Andrea Belotti’s back-pass was catnip for Edin Dzeko, who was tripped just inside the box by Lyanco for a penalty, converted by Jordan Veretout.

To make things even worse, substitute Cristian Ansaldi was injured and replaced by Simone Edera.

Torino did have some counter-attacks with Belotti and Vojvoda, but Roma largely seemed content to sit on their lead and rest players ahead of the big game with Atalanta.

Milinkovic-Savic managed to parry a cross from the left and Veretout’s follow-up, but Edera almost scored a stunner for Torino on 64 minutes, his long-range strike out of nowhere cracking against the underside of the crossbar, bounced off the ground and back out.

It woke Roma up, because they added their third goal moments later. Pedro and Borja Mayoral knocked down a long ball in the box and Lorenzo Pellegrini hit a missile into the near top corner with his left foot from 12 yards.

Lyanco had another crack from distance and Roma visibly switched off again, as 10-man Toro got one back. It was a shambles in the defence, as Pau Lopez only parried the Belotti strike, he and his teammates failed to clear it several times until Belotti prodded in the loose ball.

Suddenly, the Granata had a burst of confidence and started to pepper Pau Lopez with shots, including a great chance that saw substitute Federico Bonazzoli blast inches wide from a corner.

Bremer’s glancing header and an Edera free kick weren’t far off target, as at least they went down with some pride. Borja Mayoral should've got a fourth in stoppages, but hesitated and allowed a desperate Bremer block.

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Roma: Pau Lopez; Mancini (Kumbulla 46), Smalling, Ibanez; Bruno Peres (Karsdorp 46), Veretout, Villar (Pedro 60), Spinazzola (Calafiori 71); Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Dzeko (Borja Mayoral 60)
Torino: V Milinkovic-Savic; Buongiorno (Bonazzoli 77), Bremer, Lyanco; Singo, Gojak (Ansaldi 23) (Edera 45), Meite (Rincon 46), Linetty, Vojvoda; Lukic (Segre 46); Belotti
Ref: Abisso

Sent off: Singo 14 (T)