Edin Dzeko continued his fine run of form in the Champions League by scoring twice and setting up another to lead Roma to a 3-0 victory over CSKA Moscow in Group G.
Following a hat-trick in Roma's last Champions League outing against Viktoria Plzen, Dzeko was at his best again on Tuesday, taking the game away from CSKA – who beat defending champions Real Madrid in their previous outing – in the space of 13 first-half minutes.
Having rounded off a superb passing move for Roma's opener, the Bosnia-Herzegovina striker doubled the hosts' tally with a typically composed finish in the 43rd minute.
Dzeko was not done there, though, claiming an assist five minutes into the second half when Cengiz Under hammered home to wrap up the points and move Roma up to second.
Eusebio Di Francesco's side were second best early on but went ahead on the half-hour mark, Dzeko nudging home from Lorenzo Pellegrini's cutback at the culmination of an exquisite team move.
29 - There were 29 passes in the build-up to #Dzeko's first goal, the most in the #ChampionsLeague since October 2017 (Lucas Digne, Barcelona vs Celtic, also 29 passes). Geometry.#RomaCSKA pic.twitter.com/yiVuKRz4iR— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) October 23, 2018
An under-hit pass towards Under stopped the former Manchester City striker from turning provider, while the impressive Nikola Vlasic tested Robin Olsen at the other end.
But Roma got their second when Stephan El Shaarawy teed up Dzeko, who made no mistake with a first-time effort into the bottom-left corner.
Roma showed no signs of slowing down after the restart and made it three when Under thumped in a half-volley from Dzeko's knock-down.
Dzeko sent a header from inside the six-yard box wide to miss out on his hat-trick and a tremendous stop from Ilya Pomazun stopped Alessandro Florenzi from making the victory even more comprehensive in the 92nd minute.
What it means: Deadly Dzeko gives Roma the edge
Madrid may be in a poor run of form, but Julen Lopetegui's side are still favourites to progress from Group G after a 2-1 win over Plzen.
This double-header between Roma and CSKA could have a significant outcome on a potential battle for second place and Dzeko, with his five goals in three Champions League appearances this term, could well be the difference for last season's semi-finalists.
Pellegrini proves his worth
Dzeko will rightly take the plaudits, but credit must also go to Pellegrini. The former Sassuolo midfielder endured a difficult maiden season at Roma but showed his quality with a wonderful piece of skill and vision to set up the home side's first goal, combining wonderfully with El Shaarawy before flicking the ball over Pomazun and into Dzeko's path.
Goncharenko's defensive approach fails
Vlasic impressed for CSKA once more, but apart from the midfielder being integral to a decent enough start, the visitors offered little threat once Roma scored their first. Coach Viktor Goncharenko will have to be more adventurous if they are to progress to the knockout stage.
Key Opta Facts:
3 - Cengiz Ünder has been involved in three goals in his last two Champions League games (two goals and one assist); one more than his previous six games in UCL. Season. pic.twitter.com/QSKZQ4LpQI— OptaCan (@OptaCan) October 23, 2018
- Roma have won their last seven home Champions League games in a row by an aggregate score of 20-2, scoring at least three in their last four victories.
- CSKA have lost both of their away Champions League matches against Roma, conceding eight goals in those defeats.
- Dzeko has scored 10 Champions League goals for Roma during 2018 – two more than any other player in the calendar year.
- Since the 2015-16 season, Dzeko has had a hand in 19 goals in the Champions League (15 goals, four assists) – 14 more than any other Roma player in that time.
Roma have a tough trip to Napoli on Sunday, while CSKA are up against fellow Russian Premier League title hopefuls Krasnodar in Moscow on the same day.
|Sprint legend Johnson ´pretty much back to normal´ after stroke|
|Bournemouth defender Adam Smith out for three months|
|World champions France out to end 2018 on a high|
|I told him there´s no future in football! A-Rod relieved to be ignored by Mahomes|
|Dembele must focus and be more responsible - Suarez|
|Neymar could return one day – Barca chief|
|Cole backs West Ham to keep Arnautovic|
|Injury rules Bernardo Silva out of Poland clash|
|Lamar Jackson debut start ´spectacular´ - Ravens coach Harbaugh|
|Babar run out the turning point, laments Sarfraz|
|West Ham boost London Stadium capacity to 60,000|
|A great advertisement for Test cricket - Williamson revels in stunning win|
|Van Dijk one of the world´s best - Klaassen|
|Floersch had ´angel on her shoulder´ in horror crash|
|Gascoigne charged with sexual assault|
|I am going to stay at Chelsea and fight, insists Giroud|
|Hansen to make announcement on All Blacks future|
|I have reached the top by joining Chelsea - Sarri|
|Bonucci tells Italy boo boys to ´live with less envy´|
|Dramatic Pakistan collapse gives Stead first New Zealand Test win|
|Button enjoying racing for first time in years|
|Dortmund chief not planning Pulisic sale|
|Theismann: Smith leg break ´heart-wrenching´ to watch|
|Wolves defender Jonny suffers knee injury|
|Holmes to meet with Sharks amid NFL switch talk|
|LeBron made 51 points ´look easy´, says Walton|
|McGuire signs four-year deal with Cowboys|
|Bears beat Vikings to extend NFC North lead|
|Peng overcomes Davis in Houston final|
|Kerr says this has been his toughest stretch as Warriors coach|
|LeBron scores 51 in Lakers´ win, Warriors fall to Spurs|
|Win more than Djokovic? Let´s chill out – Zverev|
|Steelers´ rally highlights wild day of close, last-minute finishes|
|Modric not worried about Ballon d´Or|
|Saints pull away for blowout victory over Eagles, extend winning streak to nine|
|Martinez laments loss of control by Belgium|
|Logano claims first NASCAR Cup championship|
|Luis Enrique delighted with attitude of Spain´s squad|
|Stevens tells Celtics to get ´tougher´|
|Griezmann: Being Messi´s lieutenant played a part in rejecting Barcelona|
|Curry proud of how Warriors handled Green-Durant incident|
|Courtois: Belgium thought Nations League job was done|
|Howell ends 11-year title drought to deny record-breaking Rodgers|
|Robben dismisses Bayern title talk|
|Huge blow for Redskins as QB Smith breaks tibia and fibula|
|Switzerland 5 Belgium 2: Seferovic treble crowns incredible comeback|
|Titans DC Pees taken to hospital during Colts game|
|Spain 1 Bosnia-Herzegovina 0: Debutant Mendez spares Morata´s blushes|
|Peterson goes sixth on rushing touchdowns list|
|Titans QB Mariota suffers elbow injury|
|Djokovic hails much-improved Zverev|
|Arnautovic refuses to discuss West Ham future after Austria win|
|Redskins QB Smith carted off after gruesome ankle injury|
|Jaguars shut down Jalen Ramsey trade rumours|
|Classy Zverev revels in victory, hails defeated Djokovic|
|Forget the Nations League was ever invented, jokes Northern Ireland boss O´Neill|
|Magnificent Zverev claims ATP Finals title|
|Mahrez double fires Algeria to 2019 AFCON|
|Mbappe hoping for French winner of Ballon d´Or|
|Northern Ireland 1 Austria 2: Last-gasp winner denies hosts maiden Nations League point|
|Teenager admits assaulting Wales great Thomas|
|Browns deny Condoleezza Rice is candidate for head coaching job|
|Koeman: Netherlands not favourites for Germany clash|
|Dalic ´not sad´ but blames fatigue for Croatia relegation|
|Proud Southgate hails England hero Kane as world´s best goalscorer|
|Last-gasp Exeter penalty try shatters Bristol|
|Mbappe dismisses talk of Cavani-Neymar rift|
|Keita will do ´great things´ for Liverpool – Mane|
|Mourinho needs time to fix Manchester United - Veron|
|Southgate sees progress as England reward loyal support|