Roma Player Ratings vs Cagliari: Lukaku the King of the Island

Cagliari’s disastrous start to the 2023/24 Serie A season hit a new low as Roma humbled Claudio Ranieri’s side 4-1 at Unipol Domus. While the hosts head into the international break nailed to the bottom of the standings, the visitors have clawed their way back to the upper half of the table. 

Roma won back-to-back matches in the build-up to this trip but still needed three points in Sardinia for the sake of Jose Mourinho’s mind amid his uncertain future in the capital. Despite Cagliari’s woeful form on their Serie A return, taking points away from Unipol Domus is never easy, but Giallorossi passed the test with flying colors. 

Houssem Aouar’s second Serie A goal of the season saw Roma break the deadlock in the 19th minute and deservedly so after dominating proceedings from the onset. Only two minutes later, Romelu Lukaku added to his rapidly growing tally in the Giallorossi shirt, pouncing on Rick Karsdrop’s lofted cross to establish a two-goal cushion. 

Andrea Belotti, who replaced Paulo Dybala late in the first half, tripled the visitors’ advantage shortly after the break with a brilliant solo goal. Although the flag initially went up, referee Simone Sozza overturned the offside call after receiving an indication from the VAR room. It soon got better for Roma.

Lukaku completed his first Serie A brace for Mourinho’s side. Leandro Paredes’ first-team ball was a piece of art, and all the Belgian striker had to do was beat Simone Scuffet one-on-one. Given his current form, there wasn’t a shred of doubt that he would find the net. 

Cagliari pulled one back late through Nahitan Nandez. The Uruguayan winger converted a spot-kick after Sozza penalized Bryan Cristate’s handball following a VAR check. 

Let’s look at our player ratings.

Roma (3-5-2)

Rui Patricio – 5.5

Though the goal he conceded came from outside the box, he could’ve done nothing to thwart Matteo Prati’s rocket missile. But VAR’s intervention helped him, although Nandez’s penalty deprived him of another clean sheet. 

Gianluca Mancini – 6.5

While his defensive performance was nothing short of impressive, the Italian center-back made numerous sloppy passes when he should’ve helped Roma retain possession.

Bryan Cristante – 6

Playing as a makeshift defender seemingly suits the holding midfielder. He won numerous physical battles against Andrea Petagna but recklessly handled the ball in the box to give Cagliari a consolation goal. 

Evan Ndicka – 6.5

He’s starting to enjoy his life at Roma, as evidenced by another impressive game. He was calm and collected, making a vital goal-line clearance to keep Leonardo Pavoletti at bay. 

Rick Karsdorp – 7

Back to the starting lineup after playing second fiddle to Rasmus Kristensen, the Dutchman picked out Lukaku on the far post with an inch-perfect cross. 

Edoardo Bove – 

The youngster is a pure energy. It’s hard to count the number of 50/50 challenges he won today. His interception played a crucial role in Giallorossi’s opener. 

Leandro Paredes – 7

After several underwhelming displays, the Roma returnee is seemingly back to his best, keeping the visitors’ midfield ticking over with precise passes and calmness in possession. He served Lukaku on a platter with a world-class first-time through ball. 

Houssem Aouar – 7

You’d expect nothing less from a player of his caliber than the composed finish he produced to open the scoring and set the tone for a dominant Roma performance at Unipol Domus. Other than the goal, he was pretty quiet.

Leonardo Spinazzola – 7

Creating chances has always been part of his job. But this time, he didn’t need a cross to pick up an assist as he chipped the ball into the channel for Aouar, who had no problem slotting it past Scuffet. 

Paulo Dybala – 6

Despite coming close to scoring after exchanging a one-two with Lukaku before the opening goal, the Argentine looked in discomfort from the get-go. It felt like he played with some pain, which culminated toward the end of the first half, forcing Mourinho to sub him off.

Romelu Lukaku – 8

He cannot stop scoring. No matter which part of the body he uses, the ball ends up in the back of the net. He chested home Karsdorp’s teasing cross to complete Roma’s blitzkreig. 


Andrea Belotti – 7.5

What a goal from Il Gallo! He picked up a long ball at the halfway point and made Gabriele Zappa look silly with a delightful dummy before beating Scuffet from the edge of the box with a thunderous finish. 

Riccardo Pagano – 5.5

It’s hard to judge a teenager for doing nothing noteworthy in an already-decided game, but he should’ve done something with the time he was given.

Rasmus Kristensen – 6

Roma had the victory in the bag long before his introduction, which limited his contribution in attack. 

Zeki Celik – N/A

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