Sports Mole's text coverage of Roma's record-breaking 10th win on the spin at home to struggling AC Chievo Verona in Serie A.
By Liam Power, Reporter Filed: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 19:15 UK
Last Updated: Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 21:48 UK
Roma hosted AC Chievo Verona tonight looking to set a new record in Serie A, as they aimed to become the first side to start a league campaign with 10 successive victories.
Chievo travelled to the Eternal City on the back of five defeats in a row but offered stubborn resistance early on, defending deep to frustrate the Giallorossi.
Rudi Garcia's men kept plugging away and got the breakthrough 20 minutes from time through Marco Borriello, who headed home from close range following fine approach play from Alessandro Florenzi.
Look back at a historic night for Roma with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute text commentary below.
7.17pmEvening Calcio fans. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for what could be a historic night in the Eternal City, as Roma look to break a Serie A record at home to struggling Chievo.
7.19pmRudi Garcia's side have surpassed all expectations to win their first nine matches in Serie A this season, quickly gelling to leave critics stunned at their level of consistent performance. No Italian side has ever won their first 10 league games on the bounce though, an achievement the Giallorossi now have within their grasp.
7.21pmRoma can also stretch their lead at the top of Serie A to five points tonight, after watching Napoli and Juventus record victories last night in a full round of midweek action. Garcia will be without a string of key players though, with club captain Francesco Totti the most notable absentee as he nurses a hamstring problem.
7.24pmChievo meanwhile could hardly have picked out a more daunting fixture tonight, as they look to reverse a worrying run of form which has seen them slip to the bottom of Serie A. Giuseppe Sannino's men have lost their last five matches in succession, but were slightly unlucky to let an early lead slip against Fiorentina last weekend.
7.26pmThe Flying Donkeys have struggled badly for goals so far this season, with the joint-lowest strike rate in Serie A. Sannino can point to a positive recent record at the Olimpico though, which has seen them keep clean sheets on their last three visits to the Eternal City.
7.29pmBREAKING TEAM NEWS! We have just received word on the team news from the Olimpico and Garcia has made three changes to his starting XI, one of which sees Alessandro Florenzi surprisingly left out. A full look at both sides will follow shortly.
7.31pmROMA: De Sanctis; Torosidis, Benatia, Castan, Dodò; Pjanic, De Rossi, Strootman; Ljajic, Borriello, Marquinho
7.36pmGarcia has made one enforced change as Vasilis Torosidis comes in for the suspended Maicon, but Brazilian duo Dodo and Marquinho's inclusions are both slightly surprising. Marquinho comes in for Roma's top scorer Florenzi out wide, supporting Marco Borriello as he continues to deputise for Totti in a lone front role.
7.38pmThere were calls in some quarters for Michael Bradley to get his first start of the season in central midfield, after scoring the only goal at Udinese last weekend. The American continues to sit on the bench though, as Garcia decides not to tamper with a brilliant midfield trio of Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman and Miralem Pjanic.
7.41pmChievo meanwhile will be heavily reliant on Alberto Paloschi and Sergio Pellissier in attack, while Bostjan Cesar is missing at full-back following his sending off last weekend.
7.44pmPREDICTION! I'll hardly be pulling up any tress by suggesting that top will beat bottom tonight, but I do expect Chievo to make things difficult with a reshaped back four. Ljajic should cause problems with his pace and I expect the youngster to score tonight, with perhaps Pjanic joining him in a 2-0 win for the hosts.
0 minHere we go then at the Olimpco, as Roma aim for win number 10 in a quite remarkable start to the campaign. The Giallorossi kick off shooting from right to left, with news to report that Pellissier's inclusion for Chievo was a late injury replacement ahead of Cyril Thereau.
2 minPellissier is nearly involved from the outset as he keeps in a speculative long pass from Luca Rigoni, but lacks support as his cutback is cleared by Benatia. An adventurous early exchange from the Flying Donkeys.
4 minMuch more like it from Roma as they win successive corner kicks, thanks primarily to a swift break down the right from Torosidis. Pjanic soon makes it corner number three as his low cross is hammered away by Sardo, but three is not the magic number as Strootman's header goes wide at the near post.
7 minMarquinho's deflected drive is easily gathered by Puggioni as Chievo's defence gets a chance to push out. There may be different personnel out wide for Roma tonight but the principle remains the same, attack with pace and purpose down the flanks and ask questions.
10 minMarquinho is certainly not shy of driving inside and shooting from range, with his second effort in as many minutes flying over the crossbar on the half-volley. With Gervinho and Totti still out the Brazilian has a chance to impress tonight, but his next contribution is a stay pass in search of Borriello.
13 minSardo and Bentivoglio buy Chievo some time by winning a throw-in near the corner flag, which then sees Rigoni's clever flick inside met by a quick interception from Benatia. If the Flying Donkeys have genuine hopes of a result tonight they must make more of small openings like that.
16 minYELLOW CARD! Dodo just gets ahead of Sardo to flick a header down the wing, but gets a stray boot to the forehead in return. The full-back is furious with Roma's complaints but definitely made contact, picking up an early caution in the process.
19 minDodo is helped off the field but should be fine to continue, as Roma probe patiently through Pjanic. The young Brazilian is immediately involved in a 50-50 challenge with Sardo upon his return, coming up second best with his break out wide.
22 minStrootman is perhaps a touch fortunate to avoid an early caution after lunging in on Hetemaj, but the referee decides against a booking in this instance. Chievo have succeeded in making the match scrappy, maintaining parity early on.
24 minLjajic has half-hearted appeals for a penalty turned down after tussling with Sardo, yes him again, in the box. The referee is unmoved and rightfully so, with contact minimal at the far post. Important for Roma not to get frustrated here and keep the home fans on side.
27 minSAVE! Puggioni just struggles to deal with a decent drive from distance by Strootman, who got power behind an effort that stayed central. The goalkeeper parried as Chievo eventually clear their lines, but Roma could do with testing the keeper more often on that evidence.
29 minYELLOW CARD! Castan has just picked up a relatively needless caution for a strong challenge out wide, which has consequences for Roma stretching beyond this match. The Brazilian will now be suspended for their next match, which comes against Torino on Sunday night.
32 minDe Rossi is robbed by Rigoni but gets the benefit of a late decision from the referee, winning a free kick around 30 yards. Not only is it a let-off for Rome but a chance to cross for Pjanic, who plays a nice short set piece to Ljajic, who has a low strike blocked after a move straight from the training ground.
35 minBorriello just fails to connect with a long ball over the top, straining to keep the ball in play but only managing to cross into Puggioni's waiting arms. The former Genoa man is still searching for his opening goal of the season, but needs better service and support to break his duck tonight.
38 minThe Curva Sud are in full voice but Roma continue to be frustrated in the final third, with Pjanic met by two markers as he flicks out wide to Ljajic. De Rossi's hopeful knock is then claimed by Puggioni under little pressure, as Chievo clear upfield.
40 minStootman's ball back towards danger is headed well wide by De Rossi, who was clearly pushed in the back as he made contact. Sannino is animated on the touchline but can be fairly happy with Chievo's rearguard so far, as we head towards the final exchanges of the first half.
42 minYELLOW CARD! Dainelli goes into the referee's notebook after a late lunge on Marquinho, deceived by a quick flick from the winger. With Totti absent Pjanic steps up to take the following free kick from 25 yards, but hammers straight into the wall and full into the face of Hetemaj.
44 minDrame goes in late on Torosidis in a fractious end to the first half, with Roma retaining possession when play resumes. Borriello is the next to hit the floor but purely from a slip, as he falls over just outside the penalty area.
45 min+1Roma win another free kick around 25 yards from goal, which is delayed as Chievo protest Strootman's position just ahead of Puggioni in the six-yard box. Dodo takes this time but can only hammer into the wall.
8.37pmA frustrating 45 minutes in the Eternal City for league leaders Roma, with Chievo keeping parity at the break. The Giallorossi have dominated possession but failed to create a single clear-cut opportunity, restricted to testing from set pieces thus far.
8.40pmGarcia's men have looked most threatening down the flanks, with Marquinho and Torosidis heavily involved on the right side early on. Borriello has still looked largely isolated in attack though, with Pjanic unable to conjure up a killer pass after being crowded out in the first period.
8.43pmRoma boss Garcia did say that Chievo would present their toughest match of the season so far before kickoff, which will be an understandable viewpoint if the scoreline remains blank for much longer. The Flying Donkeys have stayed compact and tough to break down, with a new-look back four doing its job so far.
8.46pmBENCH WATCH! You have to feel that Roma will turn to their bench if they fail to break the deadlock after the break, with top scorer Florenzi currently waiting in reserve. Michael Bradley came off the bench to score the winner at Udinese last weekend, with the American another prime candidate to feature late on against his former club.
45 minWe are back underway at the Olimpico, with a stubborn Chievo quickly smashing into the corner as Paloschi wins a flick on. Can the Flying Donkeys match their efforts from the first 45 minutes? We are about to find out!
48 minLjajic beats two with a break into the box but just neglects the chance to shoot, driving down the line before winning a corner kick. He quickly goes across to take the corner but Chievo have numbers back and regroup, with Strootman's cross flying behind for a goal kick.
51 minYELLOW CARD! Pjanic goes into the book after sliding in to win the ball from Hetemaj. The Bosnian certainly showed studs but is rather unfortunate to be cautioned, giving Chievo a rare chance to get men forward with a free kick around 35 yards from goal.
54 minBenatia heads clear with authority as Roma clear quickly, but Hetemaj presses high up the pitch to put Pjanic and Torosidis under pressure as the ball breaks forward. Frustration is starting to build for the hosts as Marquinho is penalised after clipping Bentivoglio, conceding another soft free kick.
56 minStrong running from Borriello wins a corner kick down the left flank, but once again the following cross is poor as Ljajic fails to beat the first defender at his near post. Chievo hammer away and attempt to break through Pellissier, who is thwarted by Torosidis who read the danger and moved across to cover.
59 minSUBSTITUTION: Time for a change as Garcia swaps Marquinho for Florenzi. Roma now have their top scorer so far this season on the pitch, with the Azzurri youngster finding the net four times in nine appearances as he comes onto play in an advanced role on the right flank.
62 minRoma are starting to pile on the pressure as Pjanic and De Rossi have successive shots charged down, following fine forward play from Borriello to hold the ball up. You sense that the hosts are ready to step things up in search of a breakthrough, and that record-breaking 10th win.
64 minSUBSTITUTION: Chievo have been forced into a defensive change through injury, as Claiton goes down with a problem. The Brazilian is replaced by Paul Papp, who moves into a reshaped backline.
67 minSUBSTITUTION: Roma opt to make another change as the experienced head of Balzaretti is introduced, replacing Dodo at left-back. Chievo respond with a swap of their own in the same position, as Drame comes off for Paraguay international Estigarribia.
70 minRelief for Roma as Borriello finally breaks the deadlock with a header from close range. Florenzi and Ljajic created the chance with a neat exchange just inside the penalty area, allowing Borriello to get his first goal as sent a flick header off the post and inside the far corner. The Giallorossi on the verge of a perfect 10!
73 minChievo nearly create a chance to equalise almost instantly, but Pellissier's brief moment of space only sees the veteran smash high and wide from distance. The visitors then win a free kick just wide of the penalty area, but once again Benatia is up to head away the cross.
76 minSAVE! De Sanctis is protected by an offside flag after spilling a low strike from distance. Pellissier was following in and clearly taken out from behind by Benatia inside the six-yard box, but Roma get away with it as the linesman's flag goes up. The Giallorossi must guard against complacency now, after dropping a little too deep following Borriello's breakthrough.
79 minYELLOW CARD! Ljajic and Hetemaj both receive a caution after a spot of handbags near the halfway line, which all started following a block tackle on Borriello. Chievo make a change before play resumes, as Acosty replaces Bentivolgio.
82 minYELLOW CARDS! This referee certainly is not shy as the caution count comes up to seven, with Pellissier's booking for dissent quickly followed by action taken against Rigoni for a foul on Florenzi. Still time for Chievo to respond here, but can they get the ball in an advanced position in the closing stages?
85 minSUBSTITUTION: Michael Bradley makes a late introduction to replace Pjanic in central midfield, almost instantly helping Roma win a free kick just wide of the penalty area. Ljajic went for goal from a tight angle and hammered towards Puggioni, winning a corner kick in the process.
87 minAcosty wins a corner kick for Chievo after driving at Torosidis, although a short corner is ill-conceived as Strootman runs clear to safety.
90 minFlorenzi uses his fresh legs to win a free kick out wide, buying the hosts time to run down the clock. Just stoppage time to see out now for the Giallorossi, with the four additional minutes signalled a slight surprise.
90 min+3A final chance for Chievo to load the box up comes in the form of a free kick, but De Sanctis comes out to confidently claim a Dainelli's poor delivery. That should just about do it as Florenzi comes clear.
9.42pmWell it wasn't pretty at times but Roma have their perfect 10, with a maximum 30 points keeping them five points clear in Serie A thanks to Borriello's decisive header. Garcia's revolution marches on and without a pair of key players, what a remarkable start for the Giallorossi.
9.45pmChievo meanwhile are left to lick their wounds following a sixth successive defeat, which keeps them rooted to the foot of Serie A. Contrasting fortunes indeed at the Olimpico, as Roma continue to comfound critics by leading the pack in Italy.
9.48pmThat just about does it for Sports Mole's coverage from the Eternal City tonight, as De Rossi and co. celebrate the best start to a season in Serie A history. Thanks for your company and goodnight!