Roma, like other Italian giants such as Milan, Inter and Lazio, got off to a successful start to the new Serie A season with a manageable display at underdogs Salernitana, captained by Ribery.
When looking at the offensive triumvirate of Roma, consisting of striker Abraham, Zaniolo and newcomer Dybala, the neutral spectator could already imagine some actions of these gentlemen. But things turned out differently …
Although the attackers and the former Juve star had their scenes, it was very rarely really dangerous on this first matchday at almost-relegated US Salernitana. Often the efforts were wasted early on, only Abraham came close (17th minute, blocked by opponent and ex-Roman Fazio). Dybala, meanwhile, missed his target with a promising free-kick (24th), as did Zaniolo a short time later (26th).
Cristante, administration, work victory
Against hosts from the port city of Salerno, south-east of Naples, who kept up well and relied on pinpricks, a trump card was their own defence around Smalling – less so the offensive actions. Roma’s defence stood its ground and hardly allowed any serious danger to arise or even anything to go wrong.
In the 33rd minute, the goal of the day followed: After a standard, many players of both teams gathered in and around the Salernitana sixteen, where Cristante got the ball from behind. The Italian European champion took a quick shot and was lucky that the ball was slightly deflected. In any case, goalkeeper Sepe dived in vain.
In the second 45 minutes, the Giallorossi, controlled by Mourinho’s instructions, switched more and more into administrative mode. It was not pretty to look at, but it was effective. Even the substitute captain and former Bayern star Ribery was unable to break through the massive bar. In the end, the result was a classic 1-0 win, with newcomers Matic and Wijnaldum making their debuts in addition to Dybala, who was in the starting line-up.
US Salernitana are next up at Udinese Calcio next Saturday (18.30). The team from the Italian capital, coached by the “Special One”, does not host promoted US Cremonese until Monday (18.30) – the next compulsory task.