Abraham scores decisive goal as Roma overpower Empoli 2-1

EMPOLI: Tammy Abraham struck the decisive goal in Roma’s 2-1 win at Empoli on Monday which put them a point behind a trio of sides leading the way in Serie A. Roma are fifth but just behind Napoli, Atalanta and AC Milan after Abraham forced home Paulo Dybala’s cross from close range in the 71st minute. The impressive Dybala had opened the scoring for the away side, who came into Monday’s match off the back of two bad defeats at the hands of fourth-placed Udinese and Ludogorets, in the 17th minute with a beautifully guided shot after having already hit the post.

“We know it was going to be tough, coming into this we lost two games before so we needed this for our confidence. But we’re happy to win,” Abraham told Sky Sport Italia. “I need to keep learning and improving. I’m coming off the back of an injury so I’m still getting my fitness back a little bit but I’m happy to score and help the team as much as possible.” Jose Mourinho’s side were looking at another poor result two minutes before the break when Filippo Bandinelli reacted brilliantly to bad Roma defending by guiding home a header from Petar Stojanovic’s cross.

A draw would not have flattered Empoli who struck the woodwork through Martin Satriano and Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro and created opportunities after Akpa Akpro was sent off in the final few minutes. But Abraham’s second goal of the season was just enough to seal the three points, with Lorenzo Pellegrini also smacking a penalty off the bar with 10 minutes remaining. Roma host HJK in the Europa League on Thursday before travelling to in-form Atalanta in their final match before this month’s international break.

Stroppa fired

Meanwhile, Monza have sacked coach Giovanni Stroppa, the Serie A club announced on Tuesday after a poor start to their first Serie A season left them bottom of the table. In a statement, Monza said the club’s former youth team coach Raffaele Palladino would take charge of the team. Stroppa took Monza up to Serie A for the first time in their history but just one point from their opening six games in the top flight wasn’t enough for owner, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Monza bought an almost entire new team after being promoted via the play-offs, signing players with extensive experience in the top division like Andrea Ranocchia, Stefano Sensi, Matteo Pessina and Alessio Cragno. Monza were still in the third tier when media tycoon Berlusconi bought the club in 2018 for a reported three millions euros ($3.4 million). Under his ownership AC Milan became one of the titans of European football, winning five European Cups and eight Serie A titles over more than three decades. – AFP

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