Two goals from French midfielder Jordan Veretout in the first half laid the foundations for Roma’s 3-0 victory against Udinese in Serie A’s lunchtime kick off on Sunday.
Veretout opened the scoring with a header and then converted a penalty to double the Giallorossi’s lead. Pedro came off the bench for Veretout and sealed the win in injury time.
It was a first half in which the Lupi dominated with their quick possession football whereas the Friulani found difficulty in creating clear chances with their counterattacking play.
Roma opened the scoring after five minutes when Gianluca Mancini crossed from the right-wing with his left foot and Veretout timed his run to perfection and headed the ball into the net at point-blank range.
Udinese quickly hit back with a rapid attack of their own but Gerard Deulofeu failed to hit the target. The Giallorossi could have gone 2-0 up in the 12th minute but Zebrette goalkeeper Juan Musso used his feet to deny Borja Mayoral.
Veretout was close to being the assist maker for Henrikh Mkhitaryan but the Armenian was tripped by Musso and earned a penalty. The Frenchman took the resulting kick and went to his right to make it 2-0 after 26 minutes.
Lorenzo Pellegrini thought he had put Roma 3-0 up but the goal was disallowed after the VAR revealed that Mkhitaryan had fouled Jens Stryger Larsen in the build-up.
A dashing run from Leonardo Spinazzola resulted in a chance for Mkhitaryan but his shot was blocked by the Udinese defence. The Giallorossi kept pressing for a third goal until half-time but the Zebrette had enough numbers in the penalty area to block the attacks.
Roma kept on attacking in the second half but Udinese started to pose more of a threat in the final third. Rodrigo De Paul attempted to get Udinese back into the game but his long-range shot failed to hit the target.
Deulofeu tried his luck soon after but his shot went straight at Lupi goalkeeper Pau Lopez and De Paul had a free-kick which just missed the target.
Spinazzola supplied a cross for Pellegrini but the midfielder missed the target with his diving header. Former Roma captain Edin Dzeko came on for Borja Mayoral and he had a tame shot easily saved by Musso.
Roma decided to sit back in the last 10-15 minutes and they were able to soak up any pressure from the Zebrette. Pedro scored the third after Mkhitaryan had cut in from the left, Dzeko failed to get a clean touch, and the Spaniard was able to get the loose ball and strike first time.
The Giallorossi are now third in the Serie A table with 43 points thanks to the victory while Udinese remain on 24.