After a poor start to the season, AS Roma have come back with an exclamation mark. Against FC Empoli, a good portion of luck and finally merciless efficiency ensured a resounding victory
Roma, who on paper had more players, made a mess of their start to the season. A 2:2 draw against Salerno was followed by defeats against Hellas Verona (1:2) and AC Milan (1:2). Against Empoli, who themselves started without a point and with 0:5 goals, a turnaround was needed.
José Mourinho knew that, too, and changed his team six times compared to the defeat against Milan. Smalling was absent due to injury, Aouar was also not in the squad, Celik, Zalewski, Belotti and El Shaarawy moved to the bench. Ex-Frankfurt player Ndicka made his Roma debut. Renato Sanches, Dybala and Lukaku also made their first appearances. In addition, Kristensen and Spinazzola started from the beginning.
After just 34 seconds, however, it was an opponent who did Roma a huge favour. Walukiewicz, completely free, missed the ball in his own sixteen, extended his arm and conceded a penalty. Dybala, at least, was a new man who gratefully accepted the gift (2nd). Shortly afterwards, it was again two new players who increased the score. Kristensen served Renato Sanches, who was able to head in freely (7th).
Roma take their foot off the gas, but are lucky again
But instead of keeping up the pressure, the Giallorossi fell into old patterns, retreating and allowing Empoli to get a little better into the game. However, the team at the bottom of the league was mostly without ideas. On the other side, the hosts relied on counterattacks. A corner, which came from such a quick counter-attack, was placed directly at the far post by Paredes (19th).
There was then a lot of luck again before the break. Cristante’s run into the penalty area actually ended with Bereszynski. However, the Pole was so unlucky to clear the ball 13 metres from his own goal that he shot at the straddling Grassi, from whose leg the ball bounced into the goal (35th).
Apart from a scuffle in which Dybala, who stepped on Bereszynski’s foot as a trigger, as well as Renato Sanches and Empoli’s Cancellieri, who had a lot of luck after his headbutt against Ndicka, saw yellow (38th), nothing more worth mentioning happened before the interval whistle. Mourinho and his team went into the dressing room with a more than comfortable 3-0 lead.
Dybala raises and hits the crossbar
After the break, Roma let the visitors come again, but again it was a Cristante drive that created danger. The Italian fed Dybala, who left two opponents in his wake with a hook and slid in (55). Shortly afterwards, the Argentinian came very close to scoring his third goal, but his free-kick hit the crossbar (59).
For Empoli it was all about scoring the first goal of the season. Baldanzi had the best attempt, tried from distance, but failed to hit the post (67.)
In the closing stages it becomes clear
On the other side, on the other hand, almost everything continued to succeed. Cristante put a beam into the corner (79th), Lukaku scored his goal after Belotti’s assist (82nd) and Mancini was also successful after a corner (86th) – and suddenly it was 7:0.
A result that was certainly too high, especially after a fair amount of luck played a part in the first half. But the Romans will not care. With the highest victory since 2006 (when they beat Catania Calcio 7-0), AS Roma have at least gone some way to forgetting their disastrous start to the season with their own supporters. The hole in which FC Empoli is stuck, meanwhile, is getting deeper and deeper. After four games, the bitter balance is: zero points and 0:12 goals.
The Giallorossi can travel to Moldova with a broad chest after the landslide victory. There, they will play their first Europa League group match against Sherrif Tiraspol on Thursday (18:45). Empoli, on the other hand, face another difficult task next Sunday (12.30 p.m.) when they host Inter Milan.