EMPOLI, Italy — Tammy Abraham struck the decisive goal in Roma’s 2-1 win at Empoli which put them a point behind a trio of sides leading the way in Serie A.
Roma is 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 according to AFP.
“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 hosts HJK in the Europa League on Thursday before travelling to in-form Atalanta in their final match before this month’s international break.
Elsewhere, former Italian international Thiago Motta is the new coach of Bologna following the sacking of Sinisa Mihajlovic, the Serie A side confirmed.
In a statement, Bologna said that Motta had “signed a deal with the club lasting until 30 June 2024”.
Bologna CEO Claudio Fenucci had said on Saturday that Motta – who won the Serie A, Champions League and Italian Cup treble as a player with Inter Milan in 2010 – would be Bologna’s new coach.
Brazil-born Motta guided modest Spezia to 16th spot last season but left by mutual consent in June.
Mihajlovic was dismissed after Bologna failed to win any of their first five matches in Serie A this season.
The 53-year-old Serbian had been Bologna coach since January 2019 but was diagnosed with leukemia just before the 2019-20 season and has been in and out of hospital since to undergo treatment and avoid the risk of a relapse.