The long wait for an away win in Serie A finally came to an end for Roma in their final game of the year as they overcame Parma 2-0 at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.
Second half strikes from Bryan Cristante and Cengiz Under delivered the goods for the Lupi, who picked up what is just their third away win of the campaign at the 10th time of asking.
Throughout the season, the Giallorossi’s away form has been extremely subpar and they have picked up their lowest points tally on the road (nine from nine games) at this stage of a campaign for 20 years.
On paper, Parma did seem like the perfect team to face to pick up their first away since beating Empoli in early October (having lost just once in the last 18 meetings between these sides and won 14 of them) but their first half display saw them struggle to carve out chances of real significance.
It took until past the midway point of the half before the first chance of note came their way but Under couldn’t find the target after reacting well, before Robin Olsen was called into action to keep out Luca Siligardi.
With both defences sitting deep, carving them open proved difficult but Roma did manage it shortly before half-time when a sweeping move down the right ended in Under delivering a delightfully inviting cross along the face of goal but Justin Kluivert prodded it the wrong side of the upright.
Given that Roma’s 16 first half goals were a joint league best heading into the game, while the Ducali have the best ratio of goals scored in the opening half, it was a surprise to see the sides leave the field scoreless but it took just 13 minutes of the second for the goal to arrive.
It came from Cristante when his firm near post header across goal following a corner kick gave Roma the lead they craved – and left Eusebio Di Francesco looking like a very relieved man.
That relief became relaxation with 15 minutes remaining when, after containing Parma well, they delivered the insurance of a second goal when Lorenzo Pellegrini unselfishly picked out Under in the penalty area and he swept past Sepe from close range to end a year of ups and downs for Roma on a high.
A HEALTHY SPREAD
Perhaps Roma could do with Dzeko and his fellow strikers delivering a greater share of the goals but one thing that has been impressive and was so again in Parma was their spread of goals. Cristante and Under chipped in this time.
In total, 16 different players have scored for the Giallorossi in Serie A this season. No other team in Europe’s top five leagues has a greater share of goals among their players than Roma.