Roma beats Atalanta, 3-1
Roma finally found its footing under new coach Luis Enrique in a 3-1 win over an Atalanta squad that still has the best record in Serie A.
Newly signed forwards Bojan Krkic and Pablo Osvaldo scored in the 20th and 31st minutes on Saturday and surprise starter Fabio Simplicio sealed the match in the 81st after German Denis had pulled one back for Atalanta in the 48th.
Eliminated from the Europa League by Slovan Bratislava to open the season, and then winless in its first three Serie A matches, Roma has now won two straight although it narrowly edged Parma 1-0 last week.
“This is the football that I want—with ball possession leading to shots and offensive action,” Enrique said.
The victory drew Roma level with league leaders Juventus and Udinese with eight points each, although Juventus still leads on goals scored.
Atalanta is four points back, having begun the season with a six-point penalty from the latest match-fixing scandal, which also resulted in a 3 1/2 -year ban for its captain Cristiano Doni.
Napoli was playing at Inter Milan later, while Juventus hosts AC Milan on Sunday and Udinese plays Bologna.
Also Sunday, it’s: Novara vs. Catania; Cesena vs. Chievo Verona; Fiorentina vs. Lazio; Lecce vs. Cagliari; Palermo vs. Siena; and Parma vs. Genoa.
With Boston executive Thomas DiBenedetto on hand at the Stadio Olimpico for his first match since being named Roma president, Luis Enrique showed that his plans for an attacking squad along the lines of Barcelona—with constantly changing lineups—might have more potential than many critics first thought.
The hosts took control when Bojan collected a pass from Daniele De Rossi and found the target with an angled shot.
Osvaldo then scored for the third straight game by dribbling past the goalkeeper and kicking into an empty net. Roma captain Francesco Totti—who turned 35 this week—hit the post directly with a corner just before halftime.
At the start of the second half, Argentine striker Denis tied Genoa’s Rodrigo Palacio for the league scoring lead with his fourth goal this season by connecting on a header following a corner.
After a tense stretch that could have resulted in an Atalanta equalizer, Simplicio took a pass from another new signing, Miralem Pjanic, and scored with a delicate shot.
Roma’s next match is a derby with Lazio on Oct. 16.