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late goals extends Verona’s hellish run

Late goals from substitutes Cristian Volpato and Stephan El Shaarawy sealed AS Roma’s fourth successive away Serie A (SA) victory against 10-man Hellas Verona – the first time they have put together a run of this nature since the conclusion of the 2019/20 campaign.

Hoping to avoid a seventh successive SA defeat for only the third time in the club’s 119-year history, Verona began encouragingly, as Roma’s defence had to remain alert to ensure the scoreline remained goalless.

José Mourinho should have been celebrating his side taking the lead in the 19th minute, only to be caught by the camera glancing on in disbelief as Tammy Abraham hit the foot of the post after taking the ball around Lorenzo Montipò. Only eight minutes later, Roma were made to pay for Abraham’s miss as Verona survived a prolonged intervention from VAR to take the lead. In pursuit of his first goal in over two and a half years, defender Paweł Dawidowicz found himself in the correct position at the other end of the field to slot Davide Faraoni’s effort past Rui Patrício.

Ten minutes after handing Verona a treat, Dawidowicz gave his side the tricky task of completing the remainder of the match with 10 men after referee Juan Luca Sacchi, via the assistance of VAR, showed the Polish international a red card for a reckless challenge on Nicolò Zaniolo. However, with the hosts looking good for a slender lead at HT, Verona’s Halloween villain Zaniolo equalised for Roma in injury time after Abraham again had struck the post.
With a victory enough to catapult Roma above SS Lazio into the final UEFA Champions League qualification position, the Giallorossi were dealt a blow in the 53rd minute when goalscorer Zaniolo was forced off with an injury. However, Roma could not find a way past Montipò in the concluding stages, with substitute Nemanja Matić heading against the crossbar.

A third of Verona’s goals (7) had been conceded in the final 20 minutes of games this season, and they were breached, not once, but twice in the concluding stages as Volpato and then El Shaarawy fired beyond the beleaguered figure of Montipò.

Roma now face a momentous week ahead at the Stadio Olimpico, as Mourinho’s men firstly face PFC Ludogorets Razgrad in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, knowing only a victory would be enough to secure progression to the play-off round of the knockout stages, before facing arch-footballing adversaries, SS Lazio, in the Rome derby.

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