Paulo Dybala led Roma to success against Finland’s HIK in a Europa League Group C encounter. Jose Mourinho’s side won 3-0 after playing almost the entire game with a man up. Visiting captain Miro Tenho was sent off in the 15th minute for a foul on Belotti.
Dybala came on at the break and scored in the 47th minute. Niccolo Zaniolo also had a big contribution to the victory. His break and attempted pass led to Lorenzo Pellegrini’s goal in the 49th minute. Zaniolo assisted Andrea Belotti’s third goal of the game. The former Torino striker started for the Romans for the first time and scored his first goal for the club.
This was the first success for the “wolves” in the group, after they were defeated by Ludogorets at the start. Their next two games in the tournament are against group leaders Betis, who are a total asset from 6 points.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Finns were the more aggressive team at Olimpico. They organized some good attacks and Hostika’s shot was blocked. The Romans were beginning to take control of what was happening on the pitch when a situation in the 15th minute gave them a serious advantage. A mistake by Lingmann brought Belotti up against the last remaining defender Miro Tenho. The HIK captain knocked him down. Initially, the referee gave a yellow card, but after seeing the situation on the monitor, he sent off the defender of the visitors.
Down a man, Mourinho’s side began to dominate but could have conceded a goal midway through the first half. After a cross, Hoskonen was left completely uncovered and headed in, the ball hitting the post. The hosts’ response was their best situation yet. Pellegrini heads in from a great position but sends the ball wide.
After that, chances in front of the Finns’ goal became a more frequent occurrence. A shot from the edge of the penalty area by Belotti did not particularly trouble the visitors’ goalkeeper. Zaniolo shot straight at the keeper, who also dealt with Cristante’s shot. Shortly before the break, Belotti missed another good opportunity.
Mourinho was clearly unhappy with some elements of Wolves’ play as he made two changes at the break. Smalling and Dybala appeared in the game, and the Argentine quickly demonstrated his qualities. He opened the scoring in the 47th minute with his second touch. Dybala finished off an excellent strike past Spinazzola and Pellegrini with a pinpoint strike for his fourth goal of the season.
Roma very quickly struck a second blow. Matic brought Zaniolo down the left wing. The midfielder advanced into the penalty area, overcame a defender and tried to pass, the ball hit Pellegrini and ended up in the net.
The Romans were totally dominant in the second half and after two early goals they played with composure and confidence. Dzaniolo missed a wonderful chance to extend the lead after receiving an excellent pass from Dybala. Matic’s shot was blocked. In the 68th minute, Belotti scored his first goal for Roma after being brought into an empty net by Zaniolo.
ROMA – HIK 3:0
1:0 – Dybala (47)
2:0 – Pellegrini (49)
3:0 – Belotti (68)
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