Roma Women made it five wins in a row across all competitions by beating Pink Bari 4-0 on Saturday.
Quickly asserting themselves as one of the form teams in Serie A Femminile right now, Roma’s bright start to 2021 continued on their trip to face the league’s basement side.
Two goals in each half – from Elisa Bartoli and Paloma Lazaro in the first, and Manuela Giugliano and Andressa Alves in the second – ensured Roma returned home with the full share of the spoils.
It was a dominant display, giving Roma their first away win in the league since October – a sign that the team is improving on all fronts.
Here were some of the standout themes that emerged from the performance.
Having taken the lead within five minutes of each of their two most recent games, it was little surprise to see Roma earning a first-half advantage once again.
They had to be more patient this time, but as the game approached the half-hour mark, captain Bartoli took the initiative.
Surging forward on the left flank, Bartoli brought the ball inside and took aim at goal with a right-footed effort from outside the box. The opposing goalkeeper was unable to keep it out.
It was the spark of inspiration that Roma needed to get in front in the game, allowing the floodgates to open.
Indeed, Bartoli was one of the players who had the biggest impact on the game.
The captain has always made her influence felt by drifting forward from her left-back position, and against Pink Bari, it was no different.
Bartoli dominated her territory as usual, with the goal being a prime example of how she can contribute as an attacking threat.
Her forward movement is a vital part of Roma’s system, as she supports the attackers in front of her.
With 75 touches, she enjoyed more possession of the ball than any other player on the pitch against Pink Bari. And she made good use of it – only Andressa had a higher pass completion rate for Roma than Bartoli, who made almost double the number of passes that her teammate did anyway.
Yet again, Bartoli showed how players of any position can have a positive impact on a team’s attacking fluidity.
Heading into a match against a team that had lost their last 10 games in a row, there may have been a temptation for Betty Bavagnoli to rotate her lineup.
Instead, the coach chose to utilise the exact same starting XI that had beaten Florentia in the first leg of their Coppa Italia quarter-final a week before.
There was no reason to change a winning formula, and so Bavagnoli deployed a tried and trusted formula.
Even in games where one team is the overwhelming favourite to win, results can never be taken for granted and must be earned. Bavagnoli respected this, and the players she chose duly got the job done in good time.
When it became clear that Roma were comfortable in the game, Bavagnoli then chose to send on some players who needed minutes. There was a debut for recent signing Marija Banusic, a first Serie A appearance of the season for young midfielder Emma Severini, and a brief cameo for Tecla Pettenuzzo, who has seen less action in defence since the arrival of Elena Linari.
Those will have been valuable minutes for all those players. Bavagnoli is aware of the depth at her disposal, but is managing them in a measured way.
The final goal came from the penalty spot, as Andressa converted from 12 yards after Agnese Bonfantini – another of the players to have come on as a substitute – had drawn a foul in the area.
Having already provided an assist for Lazaro’s goal, Andressa calmly dispatched the ball to get a goal of her own, meaning she has now scored in five consecutive games for Roma.
The Brazilian’s scoring streak is the longest any player has produced for Roma during their time in women’s football so far.
Her form since the return from the winter break has been that good that Andressa has already scored more goals in 2021 than she did in either 2019 or 2020. She scored four goals across each of her two previous calendar years with Roma, but already has seven to her name in 2021.
Andressa has the full range of goals to her name as well. She has scored from free kicks and open play, but against Pink Bari, once again proved her reliability from the penalty spot.
Her goal was the eighth time she has scored a penalty for Roma – which means she has now scored as many penalties for the club as every other player to have done so put together.
Ultimately, her composure completed an emphatic win, which was Roma’s biggest scoreline in Serie A so far this season.
As long as this form can continue on an individual and collective basis, there is much to look forward to for the remainder of the campaign.