Despite the change in ownership, Roma do not have the squad to challenge for a top-four position. Their start of the season epitomized their dressing room strength backroom issues. This is probably why Benevento came to the Stadio Olimpico with plenty of optimism.
The provincial side had two wins from their three Serie A outings, managing impressive wins against Sampdoria and Bologna. Filippo Inzaghi’s men do not hold back, as evidenced by their 2-5 defeat to Inter. They did give a good account of themselves last night but, in the end, could not hold off Roma’s aging but superior personnel.
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— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) October 18, 2020
The Sorcerers did open the scoring in the fifth minute and held on to their lead past the half-hour mark. By that time, the Romans were growing in the fixture. A four-minute double scoring was all that was needed to put them on the right track. Benevento would earn an equalizer in the second-half but would not withstand the Giallorossi’s attacking prowess as the fixture ended 5-2.
There was a good pace about the game in the initial exchanges. Bringing the game to the hosts, Benevento were lucky with their first goal courtesy of Gianluca Caprari. The Italian forward received the ball on the edge of the box from Daam Foulon, and his shot got a nasty deflection over the defender’s calf and looped over Antonio Mirante for the goal.
Paulo Fonseca’s men should have equalized right after the restart. Henrikh Mkhitaryan squared the ball into the box. It was an easy tap-in opportunity, but there was no one to guide the ball home. Roma piled on pressure and bombarded the Benevento box with crosses that did not come to fruition.
— Benevento Calcio (@bncalcio) October 18, 2020
Their relentless badgering did leave them vulnerable to counter-attacks, and Inzaghi’s men did venture forward. However, their attempts were thwarted by the attentive Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibanez. At the other end of the pitch, Roma’s prayers were soon to be answered.
Leonardo Spinazzola ventured into the Benevento box and evaded the defenders before squaring the ball to Lorenzo Pellegrini. The Italy international’s shot was blocked but fell back to his feet. Pellegrini did not try his luck this time and passed it to Pedro Rodriguez. The free-transfer arrival from Chelsea struck the ball towards the right post for the equalizer. His second in as many games.
The Sorcerers went on the attack and won a free-kick courtesy of a rash obstruction by Roger Ibanez. The elaborate play came to nothing, and they were made to scramble back as Mirante’s upfield shot made its way to Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian released the advancing Eden Dzeko on the left flank while Pedro disrupted the defense. It gave Dzeko the time he needed, and his shot went past Lorenzo Montipò and into the goal to give Roma the lead.
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) October 18, 2020
Roma could have doubled the lead in the first-half injury time, but Mkhitaryan’s effort was ruled offside after a VAR check. With three goals in the opening period, the second half had much to offer.
Benevento regrouped during the stoppage and were more expressive on the ball to affect the fate of the match. Fonseca’s men were in complete control, and it was their own undoing that they did not add to their tally earlier. Both Spinazzola and Mkhitaryan were selfish with shots on goal while teammates languished in open spaces.
Jordan Veretout’s clumsy challenge in the box on Artur Ionita earned Benevento a penalty, and Gianluca Lapadula stepped up from the spot, but the Roma custodian saved his shot. Mirante was unable to save the follow-up by Lapadula as the match returned to parity.
Tempers started to flare as rough challenges began to be exchanged, but it also led to a more open game. With everything to play for, Dzeko was guilty of a selfish and uninspired display, belying his natural tendencies. On the other end of the pitch, Insigne released Lapadula one-on-one with the keeper but could not get past him.
Benevento’s miseries were compounded as a harsh penalty was adjudged for Roma. Dzeko released Pedro on the right flank, who was brought down in the area by Montipò. The referee pointed to the spot despite the goalkeeper getting a hand to it. The resulting spot-kick was expertly converted by Veretout to give Roma the lead again.
Chances continued to be created on both ends. Dzeko would miss from a meter out thanks to an instinctive save from Montipò. The resulting clearance would see Roberto Insigne go on a 60-yard dash. The Neapolitan passed to Artur Ionita, but his shot was wide of the mark.
Benevento searched for the equalizer, but it would seal their fate. Substitute Gonzalo Villar pierced the defense with an expert through ball that released Mkhitaryan open. The former Arsenal player would square the ball to Dzeko, who did not miss again to put the match beyond doubt with his second of the night.
Despite being two goals behind, Inzaghi’s men did not let up. But, this only made them more prone to defensive lapses. Mkhitaryan got two glorious opportunities but was wasteful with his efforts, sending his shots high and wide for goal kicks.
The best of the night was yet to come. Roma stopped a Benevento attack and got the ball forward. Carles Perez took the ball forward from the half-way line. The Barcelona youth academy graduate showed Messi-esque skills to evade defenders before releasing a fierce shot low into the right corner to make it 5-2.
In the end, Roma proved too much for their opponents. After going down early, they managed to turn it around. Despite the wobble at the start of the second half, they were lucky with the penalty decision and did not look back. Dzeko got off the mark to relieve Roma fans as they continued their unbeaten run on the pitch. They would be higher up on the pitch, but their back office fiasco has them in seventh place with seven points.
Benevento would bemoan the harsh penalty given against them that changed the flow of the game. However, they would begrudge the victory to Roma, who outplayed them in the final third.
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) October 18, 2020