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Abraham downs Atalanta to edge Roma closer to top four

Tammy Abraham boosted Roma’s Champions League hopes on Saturday with the only goal in a 1-0 win over Atalanta which moves his team to within three points of the top four.

England international Abraham classily finished the 13th goal of his debut Serie A season as Jose Mourinho’s side closed in on fourth-placed Juventus before their match with Spezia on Sunday.

Roma are unbeaten in seven league matches and their win over Atalanta was characterised by a steeliness that had been missing earlier in the season.

“A couple of months ago maybe we concede a goal in the last minute, but we win as a team and lose as a team and now we can enjoy it, go have a drink and celebrate with the fans,” Abraham said to DAZN.

The 24-year-old has decided two straight matches after netting the winning penalty in the 99th minute at Spezia last weekend and looks happy in Rome after a difficult end to his time at Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel. 

“There was a low time in my career and Roma lifted me up and gave me that confidence,” he added.

“I’ll do anything for this club and I enjoy it every time I step on this pitch.”

Abraham has scored seven times in all competitions since the turn of the year, taking his overall season’s tally to 20, and the way he took his winner highlighted the confidence with which he is playing.

Strike partner Nicolo Zaniolo, who decided against playing with a face mask despite fracturing his nose at Spezia, beautifully took down Rick Karsdorp’s raking long pass on the turn before feeding Abraham.

Abraham used his first touch to burst through the centre of the Atalanta defence before poking a low shot under Juan Musso.

An Atalanta side missing key forwards Duvan Zapata and Josip Ilicic struggled to make openings but stay fifth, level on 47 points with Roma, who finished with 10 men after Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s late red card.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s Atalanta also had a man sent off late when Marten de Roon was booked twice in the space of seconds for dissent. 

They still have a game in hand but have given Juve a chance to consolidate their position in the Champions League places when they take to the field in Turin.

Lazio are a point behind Roma in seventh after seeing off relegation-threatened Cagliari 3-0 in Sardinia.

A penalty from Ciro Immobile, a club record-equalling 143rd league goal for Lazio, a beautiful counter-attack goal started and finished by Luis Alberto and a Felipe Anderson strike handed Cagliari just their second league defeat of 2022.

Walter Mazzarri’s Cagliari are three points above the drop zone but can fall back into the bottom three if Venezia beat Sassuolo on Sunday.

Earlier Udinese increased their survival bid with a 2-1 win over Sampdoria which moved them seven points above Venezia.

Destiny Udogie scored for the second match in a row—after netting his first career goal at AC Milan last weekend—to ensure a home win. 

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