Report: AS Roma 2-0 Sunderland AFC

AS Roma 2-0 Sunderland AFC


Sunderland ended their pre-season tour of Portugal with a defeat against AS Roma at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira. 


The Lads held their own during a robust opening 45 minutes, as Jose Mourinho’s side went closest through England international Chris Smalling. 


Nicola Zalewski and Leon Dajaku forced saves following the restart, but Nicolo Zaniolo provided the greatest threat after the interval. 


The Italy international struck the post moments after sliding in Felix Afena-Gyan, who made amends for squandering the opportunity by netting the opening goal on 73 minutes.  


Zaniolo made it 2-0 shortly after, as the Lads now turn their focus to a trip to Dundee United on Saturday to face former Head Coach Jack Ross.  


Summer signing Jack Clarke made his first start since returning to the club on a permanent basis, as the Serie A side called upon the former Manchester United duo of Smalling and Nemanja Matic.


Although clear-cut chances were few and far between during the opening period, there was plenty of blood and thunder as neither side held back in the challenge. 


Clarke showed good feet and was a bright spark early on, as Anthony Patterson and Danny Batth ensured the towering Eldor Shomurodov was kept quiet at the other end.


A moment of quality from Jordan Veretout almost crafted an opener on 34 minutes, but Smalling headed the Frenchman’s delivery against the woodwork. 


Both sides made changes before the break, as Luke O’Nien was replaced by Dan Neil shortly after picking up a yellow card for a heavy challenge on Stephan El Shaarawy.


And the Giallorossi were forced into a swap when Riccardo Calafiori replaced the injured Roger Ibañez. 


The Black Cats should have opened the scoring five minutes after the restart, but after working his way into a good position, Dajaku was denied when he could have squared to Clarke.


Zalewski had forced Patterson into action moments earlier, which signalled Roma’s intent for the second period.   


Zaniolo, who scored the winning goal in the Italian side’s UEFA Conference League final victory in May, provided the greatest threat after coming on at half-time. 


Moments before curling an excellent 25-yard effort against the inside of the post, the Italy international fed Afena-Gyan who fired just wide. 


The 19-year-old made no mistake five minutes later, firing a low finish beyond Patterson to open the scoring before Zaniolo added a composed second on 79 minutes. 


AS Roma: Svilar, Ibanez (Calafiori 44’), Smalling (Tripi 46’), Karsdorp (Celik 66’), Kumbulla (Faticanti 85’), Zalewski (Mancini 77’), Matic (Bove 46’), Veretout (Darboe 66’), Shomurodov (Volpato 46’), Perez (Zaniolo 46’), El Shaarawy (Afena-Gyan 46’). 

Subs not used: Boer, Ivkovic.


Sunderland AFC: Patterson, Gooch ©, Cirkin (Sohna 63’), Matete, Winchester, Batth, O’Nien (Neil 44’), Embleton (Taylor 63’), Diamond (Roberts 76’), Dajaku (Pritchard 77’), Clarke. 

Subs not used: Hume, Kelly, Johnson, Ballard, Evans, Carney, Spellman, Richardson.

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