A Paulo Dybala-inspired AS Roma returned to winning ways at the Stadio Carlo Castellani on Monday night, defeating Empoli 2-1 as the Serie A Matchday 6 fixtures concluded in Tuscany.
The summer signing from Juventus gave the Giallorossi an early lead in Tuscany, but a goal from Filippo Bandinelli drew the sides level before the break, and assisted the winner by Tammy Abraham.
AS Roma bounce back after Udinese humiliation
Having lost 4-0 at Udinese during their last Serie A outing, and suffering an embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Bulgarian side Ludogorets in the Europa League on Thursday night. They are three vital points as the club looks to secure Champions League qualification this term.
They had played just seven minutes when Dybala had his first chance to give the visitors the lead, but after Abraham contested a cross, the former Palermo attacker volleyed the dropping ball against the foot of the goalpost from close range.
Ten minutes later, though, the Argentina international made it 1-0. Gianluca Mancini sent a low cross into the box, which was poorly cleared to the edge of the box, and Dybala cushioned the ball first time and curled his effort into the top corner.
Dybala shines as AS Roma get back on track
Dybala then provided excellent opportunities for Lorenzo Pellegrini and Mehmet Zeki Celik. Only to watch his teammates panic somewhat in front of the goal, and then sent a second curling strike high and wide on 35 minutes.
That wastefulness allowed the Azzurri to take advantage and, after taking confidence from a powerful header from Martin Satriano striking the post, capitalised on a sluggish Giallorossi defence. Failing to react to a deep cross from Nicolas Haas, which captain Bandinelli nodded past Rui Patricio.
Empoli continued to frustrate Jose Mourinho’s side after the break and could have gone ahead when Satriano prodded a first-time shot narrowly past the post, allowing Roma to take the lead again seconds later. Dybala collected the ball on the right wing and cut back on to his left foot. Then floated a ball to the back post, that Abraham side-footed home a yard from the goal.
They should have assured victory on 80 minutes. When Roger Ibanez drove forward with the ball and got bundled over in the area, but Il Lupi captain Pellegrini sent the resulting penalty crashing off the crossbar.
In the closing moments of the game, Roma supporters took a collective sigh of relief when Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro sent a low drive cannoning off the goalpost. The 29-year-old was then sent off for a high challenge on Chris Smalling, ending the Azzurri’s hopes of a late equaliser.