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Keys to Victory: Serturini makes the difference again

Our columnist looks back at Saturday's success at Stadio Tre Fontane...

Roma Women returned from the international break in fine form, claiming their second win of the season on Saturday.

Hellas Verona were the visitors to Stadio Tre Fontane for the resumption of Serie A Femminile, and much like last season – when Roma beat them 4-0 and 6-0 – the Giallorosse proved their dominance.

The two goals came towards the end of a positive first half display, with Annamaria Serturini and Paloma Lazaro getting on the scoresheet.

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Things continued in a positive manner after the break, and although there were no further goals, Roma produced a confident display to keep hold of their three points.

It marked a welcome return to Tre Fontane for Roma, who were playing at their usual home ground for the first time this season.

Here are some of the key factors that made it a happy return.

Key Player

Not only was Serturini the player who broke the deadlock for Roma, she was a constant threat to the Verona defence throughout the game.

The Italian winger caused a lot of problems down the left flank, with Angelica Soffia doing well to support her on that side as well.

Serturini took on the attacking responsibility as usual, creating havoc for the opposition with her clever movement on and off the ball.

When in possession, she skipped past her markers with ease, using her agility and sharp footwork to get into dangerous territory.

It allowed her to create several chances – and when it mattered most, she took the biggest one that came her way.

Serturini’s opening goal saw her arrive in a pocket of space on the left-hand edge of the box, picking out the bottom corner as she sent the ball into the back of the net.

Although the keeper got a touch to it, Serturini struck the ball with enough confidence for it to go over the line.

It was the highlight of her impressive display, as she proved to be integral to Roma’s attack as she so often is.

Key Moment

If Serturini’s goal gave Roma the advantage they deserved, then Lazaro’s was the one that gave them the breathing space to allow them to relax a little more.

The Spanish striker has started her Roma career in prolific fashion, with this being her third goal in just her fourth appearance.

She had Agnese Bonfantini to thank for a lot of the work, as the right winger had cleverly beaten an opponent before playing the ball across to set up the chance.

Lazaro has already shown how good a finisher she is, so there was no reason to doubt what the outcome would be when she was presented with a tap in.

Her goal gave Roma a more respectable two-goal cushion, which they fully deserved. Having extended the lead, the Giallorosse could play with a bit more freedom – keeping up the intensity without having to rush any decisions in the final third.

Lazaro’s goal turned out to be the last of the game; she had put Roma in a strong position from which to see out the win.

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Key Decision

With Vanessa Bernauer ruled out, Betty Bavagnoli had to choose who would replace her most experienced midfielder.

She opted for Andrine Hegerberg, and the decision paid off.

It was the Norwegian’s first start of the season, after she had come on as a substitute in all three previous games. She marked her return to the starting lineup with an encouraging performance.

Hegerberg made her presence known across the middle of the park, playing a variety of good passes, showing good dribbling ability and working hard off the ball.

Manuela Giugliano continued to create from the deepest midfield role, often playing accurate long balls forward. That left Hegerberg and Andressa Alves to do the more intricate work in front of her, as all three players played their part in ensuring Roma won the midfield battle.

Bavagnoli got the balance right with her choices in midfield, which meant it was a comfortable day for the team as a whole.

Key Facts

Saturday’s encounter was Roma’s 50th official game in women’s football, and they made sure to mark it with a win.

So far, Roma have won 28 of their 50 games, giving Bavagnoli a respectable win rate of 56 per cent.

Particularly in recent months, home form has been crucial to Roma’s fortunes. Their first home game of the season had taken place at the training ground, ending in victory over Pink Bari, and their first game back at Tre Fontane finished with the same 2-0 scoreline.

It extends Roma’s unbeaten run at home to seven games – their longest ever spell without losing as the hosts – and maintains their record of not tasting defeat on their own turf in 2020.

In fact, Roma have not even conceded a goal at home since January, when they drew against Fiorentina, five games before last season stopped.

Against Verona, Rachele Baldi kept her place in goal after debuting before the international break in the defeat to Empoli. She had a relatively quiet afternoon, helping her team keep a fourth home clean sheet in a row.

Between her and Camelia Ceaser, and of course with the defenders in front to thank as well, that run has doubled Roma’s previous record in that department.

Overall, the entire unit was effective in limiting the danger from the opponents. Other teams in the division will be growing increasingly aware that Tre Fontane is not an easy place for visitors to pick up points.

And with all three of Roma’s next games being away, the positive home record will stay intact for at least another month.

Follow Samuel Bannister on Twitter: @SamBanno1