Roma 5 Viktoria Plzen 0: Dzeko hits hat-trick as winning streak continues

Edin Dzeko took his goal tally against Viktoria Plzen to eight in five games with a second consecutive hat-trick against the Czech champions as Roma got their Champions League campaign back on track with a 5-0 win.

After slipping to a 3-0 reverse against Real Madrid in their Group G opener, Eusebio Di Francesco’s side took charge against Plzen who gave Dzeko the kind of space he has been craving all season as he netted two first-half goals.

The Bosnian striker scored a hat-trick against Plzen in the Europa League in 2016-17 and history repeated itself, but not before he provided a key contribution towards Roma’s third, which was scored by Cengiz Under.

Justin Kluivert scored his first goal for the club, stroking the ball home after Under’s effort was saved, before Dzeko rose to head home a corner in the dying moments of an excellent night for Di Francesco’s men.

Aleksandar Kolarov’s well-timed throughball allowed Dzeko to beat the Plzen offside trap inside three minutes and, taking aim with his left foot, steer the ball accurately into the far corner of the net beyond Matus Kozacik.

Plzen were pinned back until the 20th minute, when Reznik sent a free header narrowly wide from close range, but Roma soon resumed their dominance and Under crashed a wonderful dipping effort onto the crossbar as they pushed for a second.

That goal arrived when Under floated the ball into the box, where Dzeko chested it down and lashed it high into the net to leave Roma comfortable at the break.

Under used the instep of his left foot to guide the ball around Kozacik for Roma’s third after neat build-up play from Dzeko and Lorenzo Pellegrini, and the Turkish winger’s rebounded shot afforded Kluivert the chance to add a fourth with a shot that bounced over the stranded goalkeeper.

Federico Fazio had a goal ruled out for offside before Dzeko made amends in the 92nd minute, powering a header into the bottom left corner of the net from Alessandro Florenzi’s corner.

What it means: Dzeko back in the groove

Roma arrived at this fixture with two wins from their last two games and extended their good form but the performance of hat-trick hero Dzeko, who had just one goal to his name this season before the game, will have delighted Di Francesco.

Nzonzi the steady hand Roma need

Roma’s season threatened to unravel when they went five games without a win but the way Steven Nzonzi is anchoring their midfield, sitting deep and giving team-mates a constant option against Plzen, is helping to transform their fortunes.

Krmencik fails to shine on the big stage

Michael Krmencik has been in fine form for Plzen this season and he scored twice in their Champions League group stage opener against CSKA Moscow but he cut a lonely figure in Rome, failing to capitalise on the few chances that came his way.

What’s next

Plzen, who are second in the Czech First League on goal difference, face Teplice at home on Sunday, while Roma travel to Empoli looking for their first Serie A away win since the opening day of the season.


VIDEO: Ronaldo, Sterling, Dzeko and Muller – The Ones to Watch in the UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions League returned with a bang on Tuesday.

And the world’s leading club competition throws up yet another series of potential classics on Wednesday as the biggest clubs around look to kick-off their campaign in style.

But who will emerge as the star of the show? Who will rise up above the rest and be crowned the inaugural UEFA Champions Player of the Week, sponsored by Banco Santander?

Will the competition’s all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, who has made more UCL appearances than any other outfied player in history, pick up with Juventus where he left off with Real Madrid?

And can Thomas Muller extend his Bayern club-record of scoring in 10 successive Champions League campaigns?

Manchester City’s Rhaeem Sterling, meanwhile, will be out to extend his own impressive run, having scored eight goals and provided six assists in his last 15 UCL starts.

And Roma’s Edin Dzeko will hope to eclipse them all and find the net in his sixth successive Champions League appearance.

POTW Ones To Watch | 19.09.18

The #UCL games keep on coming ? Who will make Player of the Week contention?
Posted by Football Santander on Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Voting for Player of the Week opens on Thursday.

Follow Football Santander on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for continued coverage of the UEFA Champions League.


Dzeko happy at Roma amid Milan and China transfer talk

Roma forward Edin Dzeko has reiterated his commitment to the club following months of rumours around his future.

The 32-year-old Bosnia-Herzegovina international has spent three fruitful seasons in the Italian capital, scoring 73 goals in 139 appearances since his move from Manchester City.

After strong rumours of a return to the Premier League during the January transfer window Dzeko chose to stay, with the Giallorossi coming third in Serie A and reaching the Champions League semi-finals.

The latest speculation has suggested that he is now a target for AC Milan and clubs in the Chinese Super League, with a summer switch being mooted.

Speaking to Roma TV, Dzeko said on his future: “I feel very good here.

[embedded content]

”This was part of the reason I stayed in January, when what happened, happened. But I have a wife, I have kids, and at the moment all of them are very happy here.

Article continues below

“Even if we did not win anything last season, I think we had a great campaign – especially in the Champions League – and hopefully we can do something even better this season.”

Roma have had a summer of upheaval so far, losing stalwart Radja Nainggolan to Inter Milan, while goalkeeper Alisson is expected to leave for Liverpool for a world record £67 million ($86m) fee.

The club has also spent over €50m (£45m/$58m) on Javier Pastore from Paris Saint-Germain, Justin Kluivert from Ajax, Davide Santon from Inter and Ante Coric from Dinamo Zagreb.


Dzeko: Nobody wanted me to move to Chelsea but AC Milan were a dream

Edin Dzeko claims “nobody” wanted him to join Chelsea during the January transfer window, with those at Roma having convinced him to snub a return to the Premier League.

Having previously tasted title glory in England with Manchester City, the Bosnia international was presented with an opportunity to retrace his steps over the winter.

Chelsea were eager to bring in another powerful frontman to bolster their ranks, but eventually had to turn to Olivier Giroud after seeing admiring glances shot in the direction of the Italian capital knocked back.

Dzeko has regularly stated that he has no regrets at having opted against entering into talks, with the 32-year-old maintaining that stance on the back of another productive season in Serie A which delivered 16 goals.

He told Face TV: “Chelsea is a big challenge and I know what kind of a club that is, I’ve been at Man City and I wasn’t ready to move to Chelsea.

[embedded content]

“Nobody I spoke to wanted me to move to Chelsea so I decided to stay.

“It has been tough period, a lot of stories and information, true and false, were written, everything went through my head, I wasn’t clear or certain of anything at the time.”

Having seen off one transfer window, the imminent opening of another has seen Dzeko’s future at Roma called into question once more.

He has made no decision on where he will be playing in 2018-19 as yet, although he remains under contract until 2020.

Dzeko added: “Now I will play two games for Bosnia and then we’ll see [where will I play].

“I have another two years of contract, so Roma has to be asked about it too.”

Edin Dzeko Roma

Dzeko is likely to stay put once more, but he has revealed that he once dreamt of turning out for one of Roma’s fiercest Serie A rivals

Article continues below

He said: “While I was playing for Zeljeznicar, AC Milan was my big wish.

“After I won the German title with Wolfsburg in 2009, I was very close to Milan, but Wolfsburg would not let me go.

“But my career went very well and I am currently very happy in Rome.”


Monchi warns Liverpool and Real Madrid: Alisson only leaves if I come out of retirement!

Roma’s director of football, Monchi, has told the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid that in-demand goalkeeper Alisson will only be sold if he comes out of retirement.

The Brazil international has become a much sought-after asset, with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain reported to be another of his many suitors.

He has been dubbed ‘the Messi of goalkeepers’, with the 25-year-old custodian a performer with many years at the highest level ahead of him.

Clubs across Europe would welcome the opportunity to buy into that potential, but Monchi – who did operate between the sticks for Sevilla in his playing days – has no intention of sanctioning a sale.

He told reporters on the ongoing transfer talk: “Alisson? If he leaves, it’s just because I’ve gone back to being a goalkeeper!

[embedded content]

“This is the only way he’ll leave, but I don’t know if I’m ready to play again.”

Alisson conceded just 28 times in 2017-18 as Roma wrapped up a third-place finish in Serie A.

At the opposite end of the field, talismanic frontman Edin Dzeko added another 16 goals to his tally.

Edin Dzeko Roma Shakhtar Champions League

He is another to have sparked exit talk this season, with Chelsea having expressed an interest in returning the former Manchester City striker to England during the January transfer window.

Once again, though, Roma are reluctant to part with players considered to be key components in their present and future.

Article continues below

Monchi added on the Serbia international: “He’ll stay with us.

“I expect him to have a similar next season to this one. We all want him to stay.”

Roma’s recruitment supremo also revealed that the club are planning to hold contract extension talks with highly rated manager Eusebio Di Francesco and Italy international full-back Alessandro Florenzi.