Cristante: ‘Roma needed clean sheet’

Bryan Cristante explained some of Roma’s tactical approaches and celebrated the clean sheet against Istanbul Basaksehir.

The Giallorossi opened their Europa League campaign with a confident 4-0 result at the Stadio Olimpico.

“We are continuing to grow, it was another good performance, but more importantly we managed to keep a clean sheet,” the midfielder told Sky Sport Italia.

“The more I play in this midfield role, the more I get accustomed to the details and the movements. I am becoming more adept at this position.

“The Coach asks us to do a bit of everything in midfield, ensuring every space is covered, so we are encouraged to take turns pushing up and helping in attack.

“We keep three at the back and move one full-back further forward, who this evening was Leonardo Spinazzola. The thing we really lacked so far this season was in our defending, so it’s important that we were able to improve that.”


EL: Inspired Roma sink Basaksehir

Nicolò Zaniolo created one for Edin Dzeko and scored another himself, as Roma flattened Istanbul Basaksehir 4-0 in their Europa League opener.

Follow all the action as it happens from this game and Cluj v Lazio on the LIVEBLOG.

Elsewhere in this group there was a surprise, as Austrians Wolfsberger won 4-0 away to Germans Borussia Monchengladbach.

The Giallorossi rotated the squad following a 4-2 win over Sassuolo, the first success for Coach Paulo Fonseca, with Leonardo Spinazzola moved into the right-back slot. Cengiz Under was injured and unable to face his former club, along with Chris Smalling, Diego Perotti and Davide Zappacosta. The Turkish team travelled without Robinho, Gokhan Inler and Martin Skrtel.

It took 45 seconds for Nicolò Zaniolo to force the first save with his snapshot, while Fredrik Gulbrandsen had the ball in the net a long time after the offside flag had been raised.

The visitors started to control possession early on and Mehmet Topal nodded over from a free kick, then Pau Lopez had to come tearing out to stop Guldbrandsen going clear on a ball over the top.

Javier Pastore’s ferocious strike from distance stung Mert Gunok’s gloves and Justin Kluivert went for goal rather than set up teammate Edin Dzeko on Leonardo Spinazzola’s cross.

Roma took the lead with a stroke of luck just before half-time, as Spinazzola’s cross wasn’t heading towards anyone in particular when it bounced off Junior Caicara’s hip and ricocheted into the net from six yards.

Pastore’s through ball released Dzeko and forced a great save from Mert Gunok at his feet, while Bryan Cristante tracked back to intercept a very dangerous Visca pull-back.

Roma thought they’d made it 2-0 when Zaniolo came sliding on to an Aleksandar Kolarov cross at the back post and Dzeko nodded in from point-blank range, but the Bosnian was offside.

Moments later, Dzeko ran clear on goal only to be denied by the on-rushing Gunok, but the goal was in the air and arrived within minutes.

It was all Zaniolo’s work, as the 20-year-old surged down the right, twisted Mehmet Topal inside out, drew the goalkeeper out and pulled back for Dzeko to tap in from six yards.

Roma stepped up the tempo and took control, Dzeko twice close to finishing off more good moves created by Pastore and Cristante, stopped at the last second from tapping in.

Dzeko turned assist-man instead, continuing a passing move from left to right so that Zaniolo could drill an angled drive into the far bottom corner.

Lorenzo Pellegrini blasted just wide on a Kluivert assist, then sent Nikola Kalinic clear, but the striker on his Roma debut wasted the huge opportunity by firing straight at the goalkeeper originally and on the rebound.

There was still time for one more goal, as Kluivert surged forward, cut inside on his left foot and placed a snooker shot into the far bottom corner with the last kick of the game.

Roma 4-0 Basaksehir

Junior Caicara og 42 (R), Dzeko 58 (R), Zaniolo 71 (R), Kluivert 93 (R)

Roma: Pau Lopez; Spinazzola, Fazio, Juan Jesus, Kolarov; Cristante (Veretout 72), Diawara; Zaniolo, Pastore (Pellegrini 64), Kluivert; Dzeko (Kalinic 74)

Istanbul Basaksehir: Günok; Junior Caiçara, Ponck, Tekdemir, Clichy; Aleksic (Azubuike 68), Mehmet Topal, Kahveci; Visca, Gulbrandsen (Demba Ba 77), Arda Turan (Crivelli 64)

Ref: Estrada Fernandez (SPA)


Liveblog: Cluj-Lazio, Roma-Basaksehir

Join us for all the build-up and action as it happens from the Europa League, as Lazio visit Cluj and Roma host Istanbul Basaksehir.

If you are on a mobile device or tablet, then follow the Liveblog HERE.

We begin at 17.55 UK time (16.55 GMT) in Romania, where CFR Cluj are fresh from their second consecutive league title and narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification, so are not to be taken lightly by Lazio.

They are in the same group as Celtic and Rennes.

At 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT), it’s over to the Stadio Olimpico, where Roma take on Cengiz Under’s former club Istanbul Basaksehir.

The Giallorossi were in the Champions League semi-finals only two seasons ago, so ought to have strong ambitions in this tournament.

They are in the same group as Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsberg.


Petrachi: ‘Roma want to go far’

Roma director Gianluca Petrachi warns Istanbul Baseksahir that they “want to go a long way” in the Europa League with Paulo Fonseca.

The Europa League campaign kicks off at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).

Click here for the line-ups and LIVEBLOG.

“You build a winning mentality by making sure the players understand how important this competition is for the club,” Petrachi told Sky Sport Italia.

“We have been very clear with the squad, we want to go a long way in this tournament. We won’t underestimate the opposition, as they have very good players and we need the right initial approach to the game.

“The Coach has also been working on that message and I hope the players don’t take this lightly. I have been won over by this Coach and his mentality. He is young, but very forward-thinking.

“It’s not easy to immediately make an impact in Italy, but even if he doesn’t speak Italian perfectly yet, he is able to communicate so well with the lads. I think day by day, we are growing as a unit and in terms of tactics too.

“I am optimistic, believe we are on the right path and that the players are following what the Coach wants. It’s not easy to win, but I think he has this culture of good football and hope that can bring something important to Roma.”

Javier Pastore is a surprise entry into the starting XI this evening.

“The Coach is putting Pastore in his best position, which is as a trequartista,” continued Petrachi.

“There can be no alibis, this has always been his favoured role. He trained well and if Pastore plays like the real Pastore, he certainly makes the difference. Now it’s up to him to win back the affection of the fans who waited for him.”


Florenzi aware of Roma responsibility

Alessandro Florenzi says he does not need reminding of his responsibilities as Roma captain. “I know I have to set an example.”

Florenzi is now the oldest, homegrown member of Roma’s first team following the exits of Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi and received the armband over the summer.

“I think I speak on behalf of both of us,” the right-back said at a Press conference for tomorrow’s Europa League opener with Istanbul Basaksehir.

“Lorenzo and I are both proud to wear this shirt, and we feel a great sense of belonging.

“It’ll be our task to make the rest of the group understand what Rome and Roma are about.

“Sometimes we’d give the impression of being satisfied. I could’ve done more to avoid it.

“We must try to be coherent, always doing more for each other. In this Roma side, I can say that I’ve seen that spirit.

“I’ll do what Roma need of me and I’ll play wherever the Coach wants me, without any issues. If Pau Lopez gets hurt, I could play in goal. I have the quality!

“In the past I had Daniele [De Rossi] and Francesco [Totti] as guides, now I know I have to set an example.

“What will it be? To show myself in a loyal and humble light, always running more than my opponent, whoever they may be, even if we were winning or losing 4-0!

“We’ll see how things go match by match, I don’t want to make any predictions. The path is still very long.”