Roma began their Serie A campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Salernitana on Sunday.
Paulo Dybala and Georginio Wijnaldum both made their league debuts for Jose Mourinho’s Roma but it was an older hand in Bryan Cristante who decided the match in the 33rd minute.
Italy international Cristante claimed the points with a drive from the edge of the area which took at least one deflection before nestling in the bottom corner.
Roma’s margin of victory would have been larger had they capitalised on a series of chances, in particular in the first half.
“I would have been happy if we’d won 3-0 or 4-0 but what I liked was that even though we didn’t score as many as we should have we had enough maturity to control the game,” Mourinho told reporters.
Dybala was unlucky not to be on target on an impressive Roma debut in which he immediately struck up an understanding with Nicolo Zaniolo and Tammy Abraham.
The Argentina forward struck the post in the dying seconds of the opening half after a winding run from Zaniolo, who could have easily had two of his own before the break in an exciting display from the 23-year-old.
Zaniolo, long considered one of Italy’s brightest young talents, has had to battle back from two serious knee injuries and despite reported interest from Juventus and Tottenham looks committed to Roma.
It was far from one-way traffic at the Stadio Arechi as Salernitana, who completed a miracle escape from the drop to stay in Serie A, squeezed Roma back towards their own goal.
But they struggled to create chances and despite visibly tiring in the latter stages Roma would have sealed the win through Wijnaldum with five minutes left had Dybala not strayed offside in the build-up.