Roma secured their first win of the Europa League group stage this evening, defeating HJK Helsinki 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.
Second half goals from attacking trio Paulo Dybala, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Andrea Belotti helped the capital side shake-off a sluggish first half and grab a much-needed victory after they lost their first group match against Ludogorets.
Despite the scoreline, things were far from certain in the first half even though Roma were handed an early advantage in the first half.
HJK Helsinki captain Miro Tenho was sent off less than fifteen minutes into the affair, putting his side down a man early on.
Tenho committed what appeared to be a normal professional foul to prevent Roma’s Andrea Belotti from going through on goal. However, intervention from VAR determined the foul was worthy of a red card since he was the final defender and prevented and clear goalscoring opportunity.
Roma, though, couldn’t make anything of the early advantage while Helsinki responded well and nearly grabbed the lead thanks to Arttu Hoskonen. However, the midfielder was denied by the post.
With the sides level at halftime, Mourinho was forced to bring on star-man Paulo Dybala, who was initially given a rest, in place of defender Matías Viña.
Luckily for Roma, he didn’t take long to make his presence felt and made an instant impact. Dybala latched onto a lay-off from captain Lorenzo Pellegrini and found the back of the net from the edge of the area.
Less than two minutes later, Pellegrini secured his first goal of the season and doubled the capital club’s lead. The midfielder scored from close range with his chest after Andrea Belotti’s cross made its way into his path.
Belotti added a third and final goal in the 68th minute, officially opening his goalscoring account with Roma.
The win makes it two in a row for Jose Mourinho’s side, who return to action this weekend when they host Atalanta in a pivotal league showdown.