Lukaku brace helps Roma steady the ship in Cagliari stroll | The Express Tribune

Lukaku brace helps Roma steady the ship in Cagliari stroll | The Express Tribune
  • PublishedOctober 9, 2023



Romelu Lukaku continued his fast start to life in a Roma shirt with a brace in Sunday’s 4-1 win at Serie A’s bottom side Cagliari which took his all-competitions goal tally to seven.

Belgium forward Lukaku chested Roma two ahead in the 20th minute, seconds after Houssem Aouar had swept the away side into the lead against a Cagliari team yet to register a win since being promoted.

And he completed the scoring for Roma, who sit 10th on 11 points, just before the hour mark in a simple win in Sardinia with a lovely finish from Leandro Paredes’ first-time pass, his fifth league strike of the campaign so far.

Lukaku signed for Roma on loan from Chelsea at the end of the summer transfer window and he has made an instant impact, even if Roma’s inconsistent results had led to speculation that Jose Mourinho could be sacked.

“I’m a professional. I worked during the summer,” said Lukaku to DAZN.

“People talk about me but I don’t talk, I show on the pitch what I can do for the team.”

On Saturday, the Corriere Dello Sport reported that Mourinho would be shown the door if his team failed to win at Cagliari, although a source denied to AFP that Roma were thinking of firing their coach or had spoken to former Germany and Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick.

In any case Sunday’s victory was their third in three games since the 4-1 hammering at Genoa late last month which enraged supporters, and their first away win in Italy’s top flight this season.

Andrea Belotti netted Roma’s other, brilliant goal eight minutes before Lukaku’s second when he collected Paredes’ lofted pass and skinned Gabriele Zappa before drilling home a fine low finish.

Belotti had replaced Paulo Dybala five minutes before half-time as the Argentina forward left the field in tears following a heavy challenge with Matteo Prati, who thwacked a tackle into his knee.

Mourinho will now be sweating on the condition of star man Dybala, even if Lukaku and Belotti have shown themselves to be a more than capable strike partnership.

“I’ve had the good fortune to play with some great players since I came to Italy… I hope he can come back soon because he’s our most important player,” said Lukaku.

Lazio are a point behind their local rivals Roma in 13th after Matias Vecino struck late to secure a 3-2 win for Lazio over Atalanta.

Uruguay midfielder Vecino lashed in a superb volley from Valentin Castellanos’ knockdown in the 83rd minute in Rome, his second goal in as many games after also scoring in Wednesday’s Champions League win at Celtic.

The substitute’s strike saved Lazio’s blushes as they had thrown away a two-goal lead established by Charles De Ketelaere’s early own goal and Castellanos’ first goal for the club in the 11th minute.

Two free headers either side of half-time from Ederson and Sead Kolasinac drew Atalanta level but Vecino made sure of Lazio’s third win of the Serie A season and 12th spot on 10 points, six away from the bottom three.

Lazio finished second behind runaway league winners Napoli last term but have had a bad start to the campaign which has been marked by tensions between coach Maurizio Sarri and owner Claudio Lotito.

“Vecino is scoring big goals and solving problems,” said Sarri.

“He played really well midweek and even though I thought it was best to only give him some of the game today he made a big impact.”

Atalanta sit sixth on 13 points, a single point ahead of surprise packages Monza and Frosinone, who respectively beat Salernitana 3-0 and Verona 2-1.

Later, champions Napoli try to stay in touch with leaders AC Milan, when they host high-flying Fiorentina.

Rudi Garcia’s side sit fourth, level on 14 points with Sunday’s opponents and need a win over the Tuscans in order to keep the gap between them and Milan at four points.


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