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HT: Roma control in Cagliari

Bryan Cristante’s strike and a deflected Aleksandar Kolarov free kick have given Roma the 2-0 half-time lead away to Cagliari.

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The Giallorossi were still dealing with a huge injury crisis, missing Edin Dzeko, Stephan El Shaarawy, Daniele De Rossi, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Ante Coric, while Kostas Manolas started despite a knock to the ankle. The hosts had to do without suspended Italy international midfielder Nicolò Barella, plus injured Lucas Castro and Charalampos Lykogiannis. Leonardo Pavoletti pulled out in the warm-up, making way for Alberto Cerri. The Sardinians were still unbeaten on home turf, but without a Serie A victory since beating Chievo 2-1 on October 28 and Roma hadn’t lost this fixture since February 2012.

Nicolò Zaniolo swung his boot to drill wide and Roma broke the deadlock after 14 minutes. Alessandro Florenzi set up Justin Kluivert, who knocked it back for Bryan Cristante’s precise left-foot daisy-cutter from the edge of the box into the near bottom corner, squirming under Alessio Cragno’s arm. It was the first time all season that Cagliari were a goal behind on home turf.

Moments later there was almost a second, as Kluivert flicked up the ball for Cengiz Under, whose volley whistled just past the far post.

Cristante tried again, this time a ferocious right-foot scorcher bending a few inches wide of the upright. Patrik Schick should’ve made it 2-0 on 29 minutes, but didn’t get enough on to Aleksandar Kolarov’s cross-shot to tap it in at the back post.

Cagliari threatened with Paolo Faragò, whose shot was deflected off target for a corner, and a series of dangerous crosses into the box.

However, just as the Sardinians were pushing hard, Roma doubled their lead with some good fortune. Kolarov’s free kick took a massive deflection off Cerri in the wall to loop over a helpless Cragno.

Cagliari had another big chance on the stroke of half-time, Diego Farias holding off Florenzi to get his shot away at the near post, denied by Robin Olsen in a desperate block from point-blank range.

Cagliari 0-2 Roma (Half-Time)

Cristante 14 (R), Kolarov 40 (R)

Cagliari: Cragno; Srna, Ceppitelli, Klavan, Padoin; Faragò, Bradaric, Ionita; Joao Pedro; Farias, Cerri

Roma: Olsen; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Nzonzi, Cristante; Under, Zaniolo, Kluivert; Schick

Ref: Mazzoleni

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