With Edin Dzeko having an off night, Lorenzo Pellegrini stepped up for Roma in the Champions League.
The Italy midfielder scored one goal and set up another as Roma beat 10-man CSKA Moscow 2-1 on Wednesday.
Since losing its opening group game 3-0 to Real Madrid, Roma has won three in a row and only needs one more victory to put qualification for the knockout stages beyond doubt. Madrid plays Plzen in Group G’s other game later Wednesday.
The Italian team started fast with Kostas Manolas heading in the fourth-minute opener from Pellegrini’s curling corner.
After beating Madrid at home last month, CSKA’s young team showed a similar tenacious spirit to level the game at 1-1 in the 51st, the 20-year-old Ilzat Akhmetov sending a pass through the Roma defense for 19-year-old Arnor Sigurdsson to hold off two defenders and score with a calm finish.
However, the game changed when CSKA lost its other Icelander, defender Hordur Magnusson, to a second yellow card and Pellegrini pounced for his first Champions League goal.
Three minutes after the sending-off, Pellegrini took advantage of the disarray in CSKA’s defense to beat the offside trap, latching onto Bryan Cristante’s pass before shooting past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
Dzeko came into the game as the Champions League’s top scorer with five goals but his finishing against CSKA was wayward. At one point he dodged two CSKA defenders with excellent footwork only to send the ball straight at goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
CSKA is third in the group with four points from four games and hasn’t gone past the group stage since 2011-12.
Source: The Associated Press