ROMA 4-2 SAMPDORIA
ROMA TAKE EARLY LEAD WITH THREE WINS
(LJAJIC, FLORENZI, TOTTI, BENATIA)
ATALANTA 0-2 ROMA
VERONA 1-2 ROMA
After a strong start to the Serie A campaign, AS Roma has gone from strength to strength in the league and has set the pace early with three straight wins and scoring eight goals in the process. They now sit atop the table, tied on nine points with two time reigning champions Juventus.
The Giallorossi, under new player-managed Francesco Totti, kicked off the season at the Stadio Olimpico with an impressive 4-2 win over Sampdoria. Goals from Ljajic, Florenzi, Totti, and Benatia led the way, a sure sign of offensive things to come from Totti’s new-look side.
The next match for the Romans was to travel to Bergamo and take on Atalanta at the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia. Totti made only once change to the side that had emerged victorious at the Olimpico, dropping Miralem Pjanic and starting the new man Kevin Strootman alongside Marco Verratti and Daniele De Rossi in central midfield.
Atalanta started strongly, battling Roma in midfield in the opening exchanges before their home fans, but 13 minutes in, it was Mario Yepes who turned the game on its head with a violent sliding challenge into the back of Adem Ljajic. The 37 year old veteran was shown a straight red card. The Giallorossi pressed their advantage, and it was Kevin Strootman who tore apart the Atalanta defense with a killer ball to put in the captain Totti who made no mistake with the finish, giving the capital side a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. On 37 minutes, Strootman was at it again, slipping the ball between two defenders for Alessandro Florenzi, who doubled the advantage with ease. The match ended 2-0 to Roma.
“It was another good win for us,” said Totti. “Six points from six is exactly how we wanted to start, but we cannot get carried away. We need to focus now on our match with Verona coming soon.”
A week later, Roma did indeed make the trek to newly promoted Hellas Verona and looked to continue their perfect start. Totti again made just one switch, this time forced by injury, and started Vasilis Torosidis at right back in place of Maicon.
Verona gave an excellent account of themselves from the very start, actually managing more possession than Roma (52%-48) and limited the Giallorossi’s high powered offense to a mere 4 shots on target. It was right on the stroke of halftime, though, that Roma found the breakthrough. Adem Ljajic combined brilliantly with Alessandro Florenzi, and the Italian slipped the ball under the goalkeeper’s arms to take the lead.
With 5 minutes remaining, though, Verona gave Roma a huge scare. Left midfielder Emil Hallfredsson whipped in a desperate ball from deep, and after taking a bounce off of Samuele Longo the ball ricocheted off of Michael Bradley and rolled into the bottom corner of De Sanctis’ goal, making the score 1-1.
Just 3 minutes after that, Leandro Castan restored Roma’s lead and sealed the three points with a thundering header off of a Francesco Totti corner, silencing the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi aside from the vociferous traveling section of Giallorossi fans.
“Verona played very well today, I was impressed,” said Francesco Totti. “We need to focus more late in the match, but in the end we showed great character from immediately bouncing back and scoring to win the match.”
The new manager has actually played all 270 minutes of Serie A football thus far, surprising many people who thought ‘Il Gladiatore’ would play others and sit on the bench more often. However, it seems the captain has other ideas and still feels the ability to play in his veins, leaving the touchline responsibilities to his trusted assistant Auerlio Andreazzoli.
After those matches, the Serie A table is as follows: