Lukaku nets two as Roma ease pressure on Mourinho with win

AS Roma striker Romelu Lukaku scored twice as they strolled to a 4-1 victory at basement team Cagliari in Serie A on Sunday to take the pressure off manager Jose Mourinho.

Houssem Aouar and Lukaku struck in the first 20 minutes to put the visitors 2-0 ahead at halftime while substitute Andrea Belotti and Lukaku with his second wrapped up the points.

Roma moved up to 10th place on 11 points from eight games, while Cagliari remain rooted to the bottom with two.

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Despite Cagliari's league position and failure to win a game this season, it was Mourinho who was more in the spotlight than host manager Claudio Ranieri after Roma's inconsistent start to the campaign.

However, the Rome side struck twice in two minutes to take an early hold on the game and their first away win in the league this season never looked in doubt.

"I have a contract until June 30th, I know what I want and I want to give everything to Roma. There is no problem and I'm happy because Roma won," Mourinho said.

In the 19th minute Leonardo Spinnazola chipped a delightful pass to midfielder Aouar in the Cagliari area and he hit it first time to score his second goal of the season.

A minute later and Roma doubled their lead. A one-two between Lukaku and Rick Karsdorp ended with the Belgium striker chesting home a cross from close range.

Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring a goal for Roma against Cagliari in Serie A.
Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring a goal for Roma against Cagliari in Serie A.
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Before that Cagliari came close but goalkeeper Rui Patrício got down low to push away Andrea Petagna's header in the 10th.

Roma's Paulo Dybala went off injured five minutes before half-time after going down holding his knee following a challenge by Matteo Prati and his replacement Belotti stepped up to make it 3-0 six minutes after the break.

Belotti beat the offside trap to collect a long ball from Leandro Paredes, then twisted and turned twice to get past defender Gabriele Zappa before firing past Simone Scuffet to net his third league goal this season.

Dybala's injury was the only sour note on an otherwise perfect night for Roma and the sight of the Argentine leaving the pitch in tears will be a cause for concern.

"I'm not optimistic," Mourinho said. "I always trust the players a lot. When he isn't optimistic, I'm not optimistic."

Roma got their fourth goal in the 59th minute after a well-worked move. Belotti played a pass to Paredes who hit the ball first time into the box for Lukaku and the striker took a touch to control it before sweeping his shot into the far corner.

After that Roma were content to save energy and it gave Cagliari the chance to get forward. After a superb volley from distance by Prati was ruled out for an earlier offside, they scored a late consolation goal from the penalty spot.

Nahitan Nández converted the spot kickin the 87th minute after a needless handball by Bryan Cristante.