It’s about time Diego Perotti caught a break. The Argentine winger’s spell at Roma has been plagued with injuries, and he started this season in the same manner as the last – on the treatment table.
The 31-year-old was one of several players chosen to start against Wolfsberger who had a point to prove for one reason or another, be it fitness or form, along with the likes of Antonio Mirante, Alessandro Florenzi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Cengiz Under.
Perotti still hasn’t played 90 minutes this season, but his recent form suggests he can make a significant contribution for Fonseca this season and make the Portuguese’s selection of his front three a difficult process.
After coming off the bench to score one and set up another in the 3-1 win away to Hellas Verona at the start of the month, the former Genoa man was rewarded with only his second start of the season during Roma’s 0-0 draw at Inter last Friday.
The Lupi’s clash with Europa League debutants Wolfsberger, who were already knocked out before kick-off, may on the face of it have looked like a formality, but was in fact a golden opportunity for fringe players to make a statement in what proved to be a challenging and entertaining contest.
That was exactly what Perotti did, and he didn’t need long either. His prowess from the penalty spot is no secret and it was on display once again as he coolly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to roll in a casual finish after just five minutes.
When Roma lost their lead almost immediately, the impetus returned to their attacking stars to find a way through.
Before the 20th minute had passed, Perotti made an intelligent run to latch onto an Amadou Diawara through ball, and once again demonstrated his composure by drawing in the goalkeeper and squaring a pass to Edin Dzeko, who only needed to pass the ball into an empty net.
Fonseca isn’t exactly short on options in the attacking midfield areas, with Under, Mkhitaryan, Justin Kluivert, Nicolo Zaniolo, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Javier Pastore among the options he can call on to do damage in the final third.
But a fully-fit and firing Perotti is as frightening a prospect as any of them – Roma fans must now hope against hope that his injury issues are behind him.