Lukaku and Dybala play together for first time and help Roma crush Empoli

Lukaku and Dybala play together for first time and help Roma crush Empoli

Paulo Dybala netted twice, while Renato Sanches and Romelu Lukaku registered their first-ever goals as Roma secured their inaugural victory of the season, decimating a hapless Empoli side by a commanding scoreline of 7-0.

At the outset, the Giallorossi had amassed just one point from three previous fixtures. However, they initiated a novel Lukaku-Dybala partnership, complemented by Evan N’Dicka’s Serie A debut. Unfortunate injuries sidelined Houssem Aouar, Chris Smalling, and Lorenzo Pellegrini, who joined Tammy Abraham and Marash Kumbulla on the treatment table. Meanwhile, Empoli, languishing at the bottom of the league, arrived with a scoreless record and were without the services of Daniel Maldini and Elia Caprile.

Roma enjoyed an ideal beginning when Sebastian Walukiewicz, preoccupied with Romelu Lukaku, inadvertently handled a Rasmus Kristensen cross from the right, leading to a penalty. Dybala calmly dispatched it into the top corner, even though Etrit Berisha guessed the direction correctly.

Renato Sanches, returning from injury, added the second goal as he initiated the play down the right wing, providing a pinpoint cross that allowed him a free header from 12 yards.

Leandro Paredes came close to scoring directly from a corner, narrowly missing the top corner where the upright met the crossbar.

Roma extended their lead in unusual circumstances when Bryan Cristante attempted a shot following a give-and-go with Lukaku. However, Bartosz Bereszynski and Alberto Grassi both slid in to block the shot, resulting in a fortuitous deflection that sailed over Berisha.

Matteo Cancellieri almost let his emotions get the best of him with a headbutt gesture towards N’Dicka, who appeared to exaggerate the minimal contact.

In the closing moments of the first half, Rui Patricio made a vital save, pushing a snapshot from Bereszynski around the base of the near post. However, the game remained heavily one-sided in favor of the Eternal City.

Dybala showcased his prowess once more with a stylish fourth goal, latching onto a Cristante pass, skillfully maneuvering in the box. A clever drop of the shoulder sent Sebastiano Luperto sprawling, and Dybala coolly finished past the advancing Berisha.

Dybala nearly completed a hat-trick moments later, as his free-kick from the edge of the box sailed over the wall and thundered against the crossbar.

Rui Patricio had to make another crucial save, stopping Ciccio Caputo’s glancing header at the near post. Empoli came close to breaking their goal drought when Tommaso Baldanzi’s long-range effort bounced off the base of the far post.

However, Cristante ensured he found the scoresheet, making amends for an earlier own goal by rifling a long-range right-footed missile into the far top corner after a layoff from Andrea Belotti.

There was one final task to complete: Lukaku scored his debut goal for the Giallorossi, courtesy of another assist from Belotti. Il Gallo delivered a perfectly weighted through ball, allowing Lukaku to race clear and calmly slot the ball past the onrushing Berisha.

Sardar Azmoun made his Serie A debut off the bench, and Roma added a seventh goal from a corner. Cristante executed an acrobatic back-heel flick, setting up Gianluca Mancini’s header from point-blank range.