AS Roma took another step closer to qualification for the Champions League as they secured a 3-0 win over Udinese at the Stadio Olimpico in Serie A, moving them five points clear of Inter in fifth.
Goals from Rome-born duo Edoardo Bove and Lorenzo Pellegrini and a late Tammy Abraham strike were enough to seal the win and bolster hopes of a return to the top table of European football for the first time since 2018/19. Meanwhile, they were aided by an excellent Rui Patricio penalty save.
With a crunch Europa League quarter-final second leg to come against Feyenoord in midweek, a much-changed Roma side looked comfortable and extended their winning run in Serie A to three games.
Roma pounce on collapses elsewhere
Thanks to the generosity of those around them in the race to finish in the top four, with AC Milan only able to draw, whilst Inter and Juventus fell to defeats, Roma were presented with a chance to cement their position in third.
This has been a recurring theme in recent weeks, with only Lazio seemingly wanted a guaranteed Champions League qualification spot as those below Roma outdo each other in fumbling what looked at one point to be nailed on top four spots.
Quietly though, the Giallorossi have been building up some solid form to push themselves into the mix thanks to a mean defence, with a league-high nine victories without conceding.
Whilst that was put into danger by a Gianluca Mancini handball, Rui Patricio produced an excellent stop to deny Roberto Pereyra from the spot and earn another clean sheet.
Ahead of a difficult run in that will see them face Atalanta, AC Milan, Inter, and Fiorentina in their final eight games, the Lupi laid down a marker with an important victory over Udinese.
Attacking question marks addressed
Despite their lofty position in the table, Roma have failed to impress in front of goal this season and have struggled without Paulo Dybala, who sat out the match against the Zebrette with a minor injury.
Indeed, the statistics suggest that the Giallorossi are overachieving in comparison to their attacking output, with 56 points yielded from just 42 strikes the best points to goals ratio in the top flight.
With Abraham not fit to start after a shoulder issue, summer signing Andrea Belotti was given a chance to end his lengthy drought, but the ex-Torino captain has now gone 24 Serie A matches without a goal.
Whilst he could not find the back of the net himself, the striker laid on a fine assist for captain Pellegrini, whilst Abraham stepped off the bench to drill in a wonderful late goal to suggest that the Lupi may be clicking at the right time.