2022-23 Italian Serie A
  • Bryan Cristante (33')

Roma hang on for narrow win over Salernitana with Bryan Cristante goal

Roma players celebrate after scoring a goal against Salernitana in Serie A. Getty Images

A first-half strike by midfielder Bryan Cristante helped AS Roma grab a 1-0 win at Salernitana in their Serie A opener on Sunday, while forward Paulo Dybala disappointed fans as he failed to find the back of the net on his debut.

After two good chances for Roma by winger Nicolo Zaniolo, and a close attempt by Salernitana striker Federico Bonazzoli, Jose Mourinho's men finally took the lead in the 33rd minute.

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Cristante fired a low shot from outside the crowded box to put Roma ahead as the ball bounced off the pitch twice before it landed in bottom right corner.

"It's the first game of the season, we know it's always a tricky one," Roma defender Gianluca Mancini told DAZN.

"We held up well, we just missed those two extra goals. I'm not saying we risked [losing], but there was certainly (some) danger because they could have equalised with a corner kick or a through ball.

"Let's hope that next time we'll throw it in more."

Roma's new signing Dybala came close to doubling their lead before the break but his strike hit the right post. Earlier, the Argentine international fired a free kick both above the wall but also narrowly above the crossbar.

The 28-year-old continued his search for goal after the halftime as he hit the ball from a tight angle on the edge of the six-yard box, sending it just off the right post.

Roma squandered another chance in the 67th minute but Zaniolo could only find the side-netting with another of his attempts.

Substitute Georginio Wijnaldum was even closer than Dybala to scoring on his Roma debut as he found the net after receiving a neat pass from Dybala in the 86th minute, but the referee disallowed his effort for offside.

"I liked everything," Mourinho told a news conference. "Obviously, I would've been happier to win 3-0 or 4-0, but I liked seeing the team that didn't score the goals it should have [scored], yet still had the maturity to control the situation."

Salernitana, who narrowly avoided being relegated last season, travel to Udinese on Saturday. Roma host newly-promoted Cremonese on Aug. 22.