Gervinho: Banisher of Hellas

Posted by Julian De Martinis

GervinhoGettyImagesGervinho has been in fine form this season.

In Roma’s 3-1 win away at Hellas Verona, Gervinho reminded everyone of just what kind of player he is now in Italy. His game-opening assist and game-winning goal were perfectly deserved examples of just how impactful he can be when in form.

Gervinho was the only forward who was not rotated out of the team from the side that defeated Juventus 1-0 in the Coppa Italia five days ago; Francesco Totti and Alessandro Florenzi were benched for Mattia Destro and Adem Ljajic, while Radja Nainggolan retained his starting position. It was perhaps just down to fitness issues that Rudi Garcia kept Miralem Pjanic out of the starting lineup but it mattered little.

In the end, it was the Ivorian winger who proved the difference maker. After a very tough, well-fought first half, the teams seemed all set to enter half-time deadlocked. With just seconds left on the clock, Gervinho made a run down the field, beating three defenders to chip the ball into the path of Ljajic, who turned the ball into the net with a deft finish. After the break, Emil Hallfredsson equalized after some very smart play around Roma’s box following a poor pass up the pitch gave them the ball. The side had just sold Jorginho to Napoli but were tangling with Roma blow for blow.

After conceding, Roma pressed for a goal as they always do under Garcia, and created a few half chances before a simply sensational solo effort from Gervinho. Following a corner, he picked up the ball, dribbled himself into space, and unleashed a shot that rippled the back of the net to restore the lead. He completed two out of three tackles and 23 out of 25 passes to round off an afternoon where he proved to be vital.

Roma would score another -– a controversial penalty won after Vasilis Torosidis went down in the box, which Totti scored. Torosidis appeared to be clipped but went down easily and luckily it was not the decisive goal; hopefully it will not rob Gervinho of the spotlight.

He certainly had many critics and doubters after making his move from Arsenal, but Gervinho’s five goals and four assists underline how effective he has been since coming to Italy. He can still miss a very easy goal or two, but his athleticism, pace, and unpredictability have helped Roma undo many a defence this season. After today, Hellas can count themselves another of his victims.

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