Roma came through an early test of their Scudetto credentials on the opening day of the 2014-15 Serie A season to beat Fiorentina 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.
Radja Nainggolan and ex-Arsenal man Gervinho scored either side of half time to get Rudi Garcia’s side off the mark with three points at the first time of asking. Last year’s runners-up handed competitive debuts to new recruits Ashley Cole, Juan Manuel Iturbe and Davide Astori as they try to overhaul the 17-point gap Juventus had at the top of the table last year.
Meanwhile, Vincenzo Montella’s Fiorentina handed a first start to Joshua Brillante but were without Giuseppe Rossi, who is out with a knee injury, as they set about trying to improve last year’s fourth-placed finish.
It took the Giallorossi 28 minutes to finally break Fiorentina’s resolve, with Nainggolan threading a fine through ball to send Gervinho racing into the box. The former Gunner unleashed a powerful shot towards goal that Viola keeper Neto did well to palm away, but Nainggolan was first to react and smashed the rebound past Neto from just inside the box.
Nainggolan and Gervinho continued to cause problems and they combined again in the dying moments to make the scoreline a bit more impressive.
The Belgian midfielder once again sent Gervinho scampering in behind Fiorentina’s stretched backline, but this time the Ivory Coast forward did it all himself, showing good strength to hold off a defender before rounding Neto and stroking home into an empty net.