The AS Roma train isn’t stopping for anyone, and even the early injury of Francesco Totti didn’t spoil the party, as Miralem Pjanic stepped in perfectly in the role of the set piece takes, scoring a beautiful free kick just before half time and converted another penalty kick in a 2-0 win over Napoli, keeping the league leaders perfect so far this season.
There aren’t that many teams that seem capable of stopping Roma this season on their perfect 8-from-8, so Napoli, with only one draw coming into this match, should have been able to put on a better fight. But Rafa Benitez decided he’ll leave Gonzalo Higuain on the bench for some reason, and all the control and possession his team enjoyed for most of the match had no use without a finishing touch.
On the other end, Roma continue to base their success on clinical finishing by their midfielders and the best defense in Europe, conceding only one goal so far this season. Miralem Pjanic and Kevin Strootman do an amazing job in the middle of the field, showing just how important it is for the defensive game to have a midfield duo that hardly makes any mistakes.
Totti pulled his hamstring, and it looked like Napoli took over the match from that moment, losing its talisman and most influential player. However, Napoli, except for one huge miss from Lorenzo Insigne in the second half, there were no big chances for Napoli to convert in the box. Not having a striker for most of the match didn’t really help.
On the other end Roma didn’t really do much but wait for counter attacks, and make the most of set pieces. First it was Pjanic with a beautiful curler from 23 meters just before the half time whistle, and later it was the Bosnian again from the penalty spot as Napoli had Paolo Cannavaro sent off for a foul from behind.