Sun, Feb 10, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Roma demolish Chievo to rise to fourth

AFP, MILAN, Italy

AS Roma’s Edin Dzeko, second right, scores a goal in their Serie A match against AC Chievo Verona at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi in Verona, Italy, on Friday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Stephan El Shaarawy and Edin Dzeko on Friday scored early, with Aleksandar Kolarov adding a third goal after the break as AS Roma eased past bottom-dwellers AC Chievo Verona 3-0 to get back to winning ways and move up to fourth in Serie A.

Eusebio di Francesco’s side had been coming off two league draws and a humiliating 7-1 Coppa Italia exit to ACF Fiorentina.

Roma now occupy the final UEFA Champions League berth, a welcome boost ahead of their last-16, first-leg match against Porto next week in this season’s elite European competition.

“We could have scored a few more goals, but I hope we held them back for Porto,” Di Francesco said.

Chievo had held the Romans in their two previous meetings, battling back from two goals down to draw 2-2 in the Stadio Olimpico earlier this season.

This time Roma did not let their lead slip, after also throwing away a three-goal lead to be held by Atalanta BC two weeks ago.

Roma took control early, with teenage striker Nicolo Zaniolo forcing goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino to pull off a diving save.

El Shaarawy lobbed in the first after nine minutes, with Dzeko adding the second goal 10 minutes later.

Chievo lost defender Nicolas Frey, who hobbled off with a leg injury before the break, and Serbian defender Kolorav got the third goal six minutes after the interval.

A well-worked Roma counterattack saw El Shaarawy came through for Dzeko to set up Kolarov, who left Sorrentino helpless.

The Serb then turn to bow to Roma’s so-called “ultra” fans who had criticized him.

“I think it was a great gesture, to apologize to the fans after what happened,” Di Francesco said of their struggles.

Dzeko and El Shaarawy both missed chances to double their tally, rattling the woodwork late on.

Roma moved up to fourth ahead of city rivals SS Lazio, who had occupied the final Champions League berth overnight after a 1-0 win over Empoli on Thursday.

Behind runaway leaders Juventus — who have 60 points from 22 games and travel to US Sassuolo today — and second-placed SSC Napoli — who have nine points behind and are to play at Fiorentina — the remaining two tickets for the Champions League and the UEFA Europa League berths remain up for grabs.

Third-placed Inter are still looking for their first win of this year after being held by Sassuolo and defeats against Torino and Bologna with no goals scored.

Luciano Spalletti’s side have 40 points, but are now just two points ahead of Roma and Lazio.

AC Milan dropped to sixth a further two points behind before their game against Cagliari today.

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