Edin Dzeko continued his fine run of form in the Champions League by scoring twice and setting up another to lead Roma to a 3-0 victory over CSKA Moscow in Group G.
Following a hat-trick in Roma's last Champions League outing against Viktoria Plzen, Dzeko was at his best again on Tuesday, taking the game away from CSKA – which beat defending champion Real Madrid in its previous outing – in the space of 13 first-half minutes.
Having rounded off a superb passing move for Roma's opener, the Bosnia-Herzegovina striker doubled the host's tally with a typically composed finish in the 43rd minute.
Dzeko was not done there, though, claiming an assist five minutes into the second half when Cengiz Under hammered home to wrap up the points and move Roma up to second.
Eusebio Di Francesco's side was second best early on but went ahead on the half-hour mark, Dzeko nudging home from Lorenzo Pellegrini's cutback at the culmination of an exquisite team move.
An under-hit pass towards Under stopped the former Manchester City striker from turning provider, while the impressive Nikola Vlasic tested Robin Olsen at the other end.
But Roma got its second when Stephan El Shaarawy teed up Dzeko, who made no mistake with a first-time effort into the bottom-left corner.
Roma showed no signs of slowing down after the restart and made it three when Under thumped in a half-volley from Dzeko's knock-down.
Dzeko sent a header from inside the six-yard box wide to miss out on his hat-trick and a tremendous stop from Ilya Pomazun stopped Alessandro Florenzi from making the victory even more comprehensive in the 92nd minute.
What it means: Deadly Dzeko gives Roma the edge
Madrid may be in a poor run of form, but Julen Lopetegui's side is still the favourite to progress from Group G after a 2-1 win over Plzen.
This double-header between Roma and CSKA could have a significant outcome on a potential battle for second place and Dzeko, with his five goals in three Champions League appearances this term, could well be the difference for last season's semifinalist.
Pellegrini proves his worth
Dzeko will rightly take the plaudits, but credit must also go to Pellegrini. The former Sassuolo midfielder endured a difficult maiden season at Roma but showed his quality with a wonderful piece of skill and vision to set up the home side's first goal, combining wonderfully with El Shaarawy before flicking the ball over Pomazun and into Dzeko's path.
Roma has a tough trip to Napoli on Sunday, while CSKA is up against fellow Russian Premier League title hopeful Krasnodar in Moscow on the same day.
- Du Plessis hints at return to international cricket ahead of T20 World Cup
- Manchester United vs Chelsea: Top five Premier League clashes
- ISL 2023-24: Mohun Bagan Super Giant looks to avenge AFC Cup loss against Odisha FC
- Mohun Bagan Super Giant vs Odisha FC LIVE streaming info, ISL 2023-24: When, where to watch; Preview
- WATCH: Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim out handling the ball in second Test against New Zealand