Daniele De Rossi continues his perfect start at Roma with a thumping 4-0 win over Cagliari, as Paulo Dybala scored twice with Lorenzo Pellegrini and Dean Huijsen also on target.
The Giallorossi gave new signing Angelino his debut from the start, with Yerry Mina doing the same for the Sardinians. Leandro Paredes returned from suspension, with Leonardo Spinazzola, Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham injured, Evan Ndicka and Sardar Azmoun on international duty. Ibrahim Sulemana, Gaetano Oristanio, Marko Rog, Marco Mancosu and Roma-owned Eldor Shomurodov were out of action.
There was a moment’s silence and the hosts wore black armbands after the death of club legend Giacomo Losi at the age of 88.
It took 61 seconds to break the deadlock, as a Paulo Dybala corner was flicked on, finding Lorenzo Pellegrini to tap in from point-blank range at the near post, his third game in a row on target. It was also the fastest goal in Serie A this season.
Alberto Dossena nodded a Cagliari corner off target moments later, then Angelino whipped in a cross for Bryan Cristante to volley against the upright.
The second goal was a wonderful team move. Dybala started it with a dummy in midfield to send Cristante forward, his cross-field pass found Stephan El Shaarawy, who nutmegged a defender, Pellegrini’s back-heel was let through by a Romelu Lukaku dummy and Dybala swept home.
Dybala curled just wide of the far post on a smart Angelino corner kick routine, while Lukaku had a goal ruled offside just before half-time on an El Shaarawy assist.
Rui Patricio was tested by the Gianluca Lapadula strike from 14 yards after cutting inside Cristante.
There was a scare when the referee awarded a penalty, but changed his mind after VAR showed it was Lapadula who had trodden on Diego Llorente’s foot and not the other way around.
After the restart, it was Roma who received a rather soft penalty, as Cristante flicked on the Dybala corner to strike Andrea Petagna on the hand from point-blank range. Dybala converted after a stuttering run-up, sending Simone Scuffet the wrong way.
Yerry Mina charged down a Dybala strike from 12 yards, then did the same on Lukaku who controlled a long ball over the top from Rick Karsdorp.
Dean Huijsen scored the first Serie A goal of his career, allowed a completely free header on a Paredes corner to give Scuffet no chance.
Zito Luvumbo stung Rui Patricio’s gloves with a left-foot effort and Lukaku ballooned the Nicola Zalewski pull-back over from six yards.
Tommaso Baldanzi made his Roma debut for the final 20 minutes and Lukaku tested Scuffet at the near post.
Edoardo Bove had the ball in the net late on, but only after mistiming the run to go offside on a Karsdorp assist.
Roma are now just one point behind fourth-placed Atalanta, who have a game in hand to be played against Inter on February 28.
Roma 4-0 Cagliari
Pellegrini 2 (R), Dybala 23, pen 51 (R), Huijsen 59 (R)