Salah-show against Bologna ensures Roma remain invincible at the Olimpico

La Stampa (Matteo De Santis) A perfect home record, with 18 points from 6 games at the Olimpico, and the most prolific attack in the league have not only made sure that Roma remain in second place but also stopped Juventus from establishing an even bigger lead. A week after seeing their own Skorupski perform miracles at Empoli, Roma were back with 3 goals against Bologna, all scored by Salah (with the considerable assistance of Masina for the first one). Two points gained on Napoli and Lazio, none lost on Milan or Juventus, and to top it all they are the league’s top scorers with 29 (20 of which have been scored or created by Dzeko and Salah), 2 more than Torino. Spalletti can therefore feel relaxed going into the international break.

The possibility of the game being postponed due to the heavy rain before the game was fortunately avoided, but when the match began Roma again showed they had got their approach wrong. 3 days before in their Europa League match in Vienna, it cost them a goal when they conceded after just 83 seconds; this time, they were saved by a matter of centimetres. Szczesny was saved the first time when Krejci’s shot went inches wide, and then the ball was rightly judged to have gone just out of play before Taider crossed for former Roma player Sadiq (who scored, just for the record).

Roma’s lethargy didn’t last long though, perhaps for 10 minutes while Dzeko found his range and Perotti and Salah warmed up their engines, before Bologna self-destructed at the first opportunity. With not even a quarter of an hour gone, an attempted sliding block by Masina gave Salah the luck he needed to beat Da Costa. This was ideal for Roma, who were more inclined to run into spaces than engage in a long tactical battle with a tightly packed Bologna (which was Donadoni’s plan at the outset). It could even have been better when the pace of the game increased and chances fell to Dzeko, Perotti, Nainggolan, Bruno Peres and Strootman, but none were able to double the lead before half time.

The game was still in the balance as Roma passed up more good chances until Salah scored his 7th and 8th league goals of the season for his first hat-trick for the Giallorossi, definitively ending Bologna’s resistance. Only a goal from Dzeko was missing (though he was in the thick of things for much of the game) to top off the day for Roma and confirm both second place and their invincibility at the Olimpico. Things can’t be perfect every time though. But what that Roma team did, without Mario Rui, Vermaelen, Manolas, Totti, Florenzi and Emerson, was certainly enough to help them continue onwards and upwards and allow their dreams of competing at the very top of the table this season to continue.

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