Edin Dzeko was Roma’s star man again as the Giallorossi moved joint-top of Champions League Group G with a 3-0 win over CSKA Moscow.
The Bosnian netted a hat-trick against Viktoria Plzen in his last European outing and was on fine form again as he scored two first-half goals and set up Cengiz Under for his side’s third in a dominant performance at the Stadio Olimpico.
A balanced opening to the match saw chances fall at both ends, with Robin Olsen beating away efforts from Fedor Chalov and Nikola Vlasic and Daniele De Rossi forcing an acrobatic save from CSKA goalkeeper Ilya Pomazun when he powered a header goalwards from a corner.
The Lupi took the lead on the half-hour mark through Edin Dzeko but he had Lorenzo Pellegrini to thank, as the midfielder’s give-and-go with Stephan El Shaarawy opened up some space before the midfielder put the ball on a plate for the Bosnian with his low delivery.
Roma then doubled their advantage before the break through Dzeko again. Pellegrini surged through the CSKA defence and went tumbling, but El Shaarawy didn’t wait for the whistle and instead teed up his teammate to apply a cool finish from a tight angle.
It took the Giallorossi just five minutes after the break to add a third and Dzeko was again involved, grabbing an assist as he headed down a long ball from Alessandro Florenzi into the path of Cengiz Under, who smashed in a finish from 12 yards.
CSKA thought they had pulled one back through Kirill Nababkin but the offside flag was up and then the crowd was ready to celebrate another Dzeko hat-trick when the striker pulled free at the back post to meet a corner, but he could only head wide from close range.
EuroDzeko needed in Serie A
After Tuesday night’s performance, Edin Dzeko has now scored more than twice as many goals in the Champions League as he has in Serie A this season – in less than half as many games. Where is EuroDzeko when domestic duties come around?
The Bosnian even took that Euro-theme a step further during the international break by scoring twice for his country against Northern Ireland in the UEFA Nations League.
However, he’s finding life far more difficult back in Serie A – although the same could be said for a lot of his teammates. The 32-year-old’s sublime winner on the opening day against Torino dug his team out of a hole, but since then his only other strike came against Empoli just before the international break.
He was at his destructive best against CSKA, pouncing on his opportunities. The first was all about being in the right place at the right time, the second an arrowed finish demonstrating the top-class technique he’s so rarely showed in the league this season. His physical presence then came into play as he rose to provide an assist for his team’s third.
Souls have been searched, debate has raged and analysis has been poured over in the search for a solution to the GIallorossi’s domestic inconsistency since their shock defeat to SPAL at the weekend. Getting Dzeko to put in this kind of performance would go a long way to making that happen.