It all went to plan – just about – as Roma got the win they needed, coupled with a result in their favour in the other game, to top their Europa Conference League group.
Roma beat CSKA Sofia 3-2 on matchday six, while Bodo/Glimt dropped points against Zorya Luhansk. Therefore, the Giallorossi will advance to the round of 16 as group winners.
Jose Mourinho fielded a fairly strong side, giving a first senior start to Edoardo Bove and a first appearance of the season to Daniel Fuzato. Other than that and a rare cameo for Borja Mayoral from the start, it was otherwise a largely familiar XI.
Roma took the lead in the 15th minute when Mayoral slid the ball wide for Rick Karsdorp, whose cross along the face of goal found a grateful Tammy Abraham for a tap-in.
Mayoral got on the scoresheet himself in the 34th minute to make it 2-0. Bove brought the ball in from the right before it ended up with Matias Vina on the opposite side, prompting the Uruguay international to cut it back. Mayoral instinctively backheeled it into the bottom corner to provide a rare moment of joy this season.
It was 3-0 in the 53rd minute when Abraham showed composure to control another cross from Karsdorp before picking his moment to finish powerfully.
With the cushion built up, Mourinho made a couple of changes that took the sting out of the game. Worryingly, Roma allowed their opponents a foothold in the game, conceding goals to Hamza Catakovic in the 75th minute and Yanic Wildschut in the 93rd.
Bryan Cristante was guilty of losing his man for both goals, while Fuzato did not cover himself in glory for the second.
But they turned out to be just consolations for the already-eliminated hosts. And with the other game in the group finishing 1-1 between Zorya and Bodo/Glimt, Roma have been confirmed as group winners.
This is a competition they can go far in if they put their minds to it and the first significant hurdle has been overcome.
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