HT: Dzeko pounces on Atalanta error

Edin Dzeko pounced on a defensive error on the stroke of half-time to give Roma the lead away to Atalanta in the head-to-head for fourth place.

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This was a head-to-head for Champions League football, as La Dea were in fourth place, just three points in front of the Giallorossi. Gian Piero Gasperini had a full squad to choose from and kept squad rotation to a minimum ahead of the Round of 16 with Valencia next week. Bryan Cristante was suspended, with Javier Pastore, Nicolò Zaniolo, Amadou Diawara, Davide Zappacosta and Antonio Mirante injured, so Gianluca Mancini moved up into midfield and Bruno Peres got his first Roma start since May 2018.

Pau Lopez had to come rushing off his line to deny Papu Gomez one-on-one on the counter, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan did important defensive work tracking back to tackle Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata.

Hans Hateboer had the chance to fire in from six yards when springing the offside trap after a corner, but slipped at the crucial moment.

Ilicic drilled wide of the near post and Rafael Toloi’s acrobatic overhead kick skimmed the upright in what would’ve been a stunning strike.

Chris Smalling needed a perfectly timed tackle to stop Ilicic going clear on goal, as Federico Fazio had been left behind by the through ball.

Moments later, Diego Perotti sprinted to the by-line and pulled back only for Lorenzo Pellegrini to scuff the finish.

The deadlock was broken by Roma on the stroke of half-time. Jose Luis Palomino’s awful first touch to control an over-hit Hans Hateboer back-pass gave Dzeko the opening he was looking for, as the Bosnian ran forward and curled a precise finish into the far bottom corner.

Atalanta 0-1 Roma (Half-Time)

Dzeko 45 (R)

Atalanta: Gollini; Toloi, Palomino, Djimsiti; Hateboer, De Roon, Freuler, Gosens; Gomez; Ilicic, Duvan Zapata

Roma: Pau Lopez; Bruno Peres, Fazio, Smalling, Spinazzola; Mancini, Pellegrini; Perotti, Mkhitaryan, Kluivert; Dzeko

Ref: Orsato

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