Roma beats Chievo Verona ahead of Champions League match against Porto
Rome, Feb 9 (IANS) AS Roma scored a comfortable 3-0 away win at Chievo Verona in round 23 of Italy's Serie A (Primera Division), ahead of welcoming Porto to the first leg match of the Champions League round of 16, on February 12.
Goals from Stephan El Shaarawy, Bosnian Edin Dzeko and Serbian Aleksandar Kolarov allowed Roma to take all three points on Friday and regain momentum after a humiliating 7-1 loss against Fiorentina in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia on January 31 and a 1-1 draw with Milan on February 3, reports Efe.
Coach Eusebio Di Francesco's side, who went out on Friday with defender Ivan Marcano from start to finish, set their victory on track in less than 20 minutes, thanks to El Shaarawy's eighth league goal of the year, in the ninth minute, and Dzeko's fifth in the 18th minute.
Against a Chievo team who won just one game this season, on the 19th matchday against Frosinone, and are languishing on last place, nine points from safety, Roma controlled the pace of play and extended their lead immediately after the restart when Aleksandar Kolarov, in the 51st minute, culminated a great counter-attack with a tremendous left-footed cross behind the post after an assist from Dzeko.
In the final stretch, the capital outfit could have increased their win even further, but shots from Dzeko and El Shaarawy crashed into the woodwork.
With this victory, AS Roma momentarily overtakes Lazio in fourth place with 38 points. Milan, who have 36 points and will host Cagliari, can move ahead of both teams from Rome, if they win on Sunday. Fourth place in Serie A is the final Champions League qualifying berth.
Atalanta as well, now on 35 points and in seventh place, can reach Roma and Lazio if they manage to add the three points at home when they play Spal de Ferrara on Sunday.
Di Francesco's men will now prepare for the play-off against Porto in a Champions League encounter in which they will dream of repeating their triumphant run to the semifinals they achieved last season.