Roma’s management has been pleading for patience from its disgruntled fans all season.
After selling off the backbone of the squad — goalkeeper Alisson to Liverpool, warrior-like midfielder Radja Nainggolan to rival Inter Milan and beloved defensive midfielder Kevin Strootman to Marseille — the company line was that it would just take some of time before the team regains its stride as new players develop chemistry with those that remained.
Right on cue, Roma turned in its most convincing performance of the season on Saturday as the Giallorossi beat rival Lazio 3-1 in the all-important Rome derby.
Aleksandar Kolarov scored the winner with a free kick midway through the second half.
Roma substitute Lorenzo Pellegrini had opened the scoring with a clever backheel flick a minute before halftime but Ciro Immobile equalized for Lazio four minutes before Kolarov’s goal following a Roma defensive lapse.
Federico Fazio, who was to blame for Immobile’s goal, sealed it for Roma with a header following a free kick.
Roma’s second victory in four days — including a 4-0 win over promoted Frosinone on Wednesday — gives the team some much-needed confidence ahead of a Champions League match against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday.
A surprise semifinalist in the top European competition last season, Roma was thoroughly outclassed by three-time defending champion Real Madrid in a 3-0 loss in its group opener.
It’s also been a difficult run for Roma in Serie A.
The Giallorossi needed a late goal from Edin Dzeko to win 1-0 at Torino in their opener. Then came a 3-3 draw with Atalanta at home and a 2-1 loss at AC Milan courtesy of a goal conceded five minutes into stoppage time.
Roma also wasted a two-goal advantage in a 2-2 draw with last-place Chievo Verona and then appeared to hit bottom with a 2-0 defeat at Bologna.
But now Roma is right back in the fight for the Champions League places, sitting fifth, one point behind Lazio, which had won four straight.
Source: The Associated Press