Roma overcame a lacklustre start to secure all three points in their opening Europa League group game as they claimed a 2-1 win against Young Boys at the Wankdorf Stadium in Bern on Thursday evening.
An early penalty from Jean-Pierre Nsame gave YB the lead, but second half strikes by Carles Perez and Marash Kumbulla ensured that the Giallorossi returned to Italy with a victory.
The capital club will now turn their attentions back to domestic action as they prepare to face high flying AC Milan in Serie A on Monday evening.
A sluggish start to the contest from the Giallorossi saw them fall behind inside the opening quarter of an hour when Bryan Cristante’s clumsy challenge on Fabian Rieder handed the hosts a penalty, which was duly dispatched by Nsame.
Despite the early set back it was the visitors who began to control the tempo of the game as they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, although they lacked the creativity to unlock the resolute Young Boys back line.
Roma were becoming visibly frustrated as they toiled away to no avail and it would take almost 40 minutes for them to create a clear cut opportunity. A spell binding run from Perez saw him beat a handful of defenders on his way towards goal, but unfortunately for the Giallorossi he couldn’t provide the finishing touch.
When both teams retired for the break Paulo Fonseca’s men had enjoyed over 60 percent of possession, but had not managed to register a single shot on target.
The second stanza opened with the Giallorossi still struggling to find any creative spark in their play and they had developed an uncharacteristic nervousness in defence which seemed hell bent on handing the hosts a chance to double their lead.
With his team struggling Fonseca unleashed his big guns on the contest just before the hour mark, Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mikhitaryan entering the fray to try and add some attacking teeth to an ailing front line.
Dzeko’s introduction would prove to be a master stroke for the visitors when only moments after entering the contest his pass sent Perez through on goal to score Roma’s first of the evening.
Only four minutes after drawing level the Giallorossi found themselves in the lead, Jordan Veretout’s cross found Kumbulla unmarked at the back post and he made no mistake as he headed the ball home, although David von Ballmoos should have done better in the Young Boys goal.
Elia Meschak would have a chance to bring the hosts back level just before the full time whistle, but Pau Lopez would produce a fantastic save to ensure that his team returned to Italy with all three points.