Tammy Abraham’s first-half strike earned AS Roma a 1-0 win over Udinese on Thursday to send the club to fourth in Serie A, but Lorenzo Pellegrini was sent off and will now miss the capital derby against Lazio.
England international Abraham steered in a close-range finish after 36 minutes following a fabulous assist from 19-year-old Riccardo Calafiori, who ran half the length of the pitch before beating his marker and sending in a fine cross.
Jose Mourinho’s side climbed to fourth place on 12 points, three behind leader Napoli. Udinese is 10th with seven points.
“I knew there was a lot of pressure with me coming in, but I love the fans, the staff, they make me feel like family from the first day and I need to repay them,” Abraham told DAZN.
“I came here to win, I love to win, the boys look to me, I have to give them confidence and hopefully we will continue getting results.”
Roma needed to deliver a result after suffering its first defeat under Mourinho against Hellas Verona at the weekend, and it began with intent as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nicolo Zaniolo both hit the post.
Abraham gave the host a deserved lead before halftime, his third goal in all competitions since joining from Chelsea in August.
But Udinese mustered a spirited response in the second half as Destiny Udogie fired wide from a promising position and Gerard Deulofeu drew a smart save from Rui Patricio.
The host suffered a damaging blow in the dying minutes when captain Pellegrini was shown a second yellow card for a high elbow, meaning he will be suspended for the Rome derby on Sunday.
However, Mourinho said that Roma will do everything possible to have Lorenzo Pellegrini’s red card rescinded before the match against Lazio.
“I do not know the legal workings of Italian football, but I want to. If we can make him play, we will do everything to do that,” Mourinho told DAZN.
“I have many doubts that anyone can say that it was a deserved second yellow. One person. But I cannot say that he will play on Sunday.”
Pellegrini’s absence would be a big blow for Roma after the Italy international started the season in excellent form, scoring three goals in the first five rounds of Serie A.