ROME (Reuters) – AS Roma defender Chris Smalling scored and then provided two assists as his side thumped bottom-of-the-table Brescia 3-0 in Serie A on Sunday.
Brescia left Mario Balotelli on the bench after coach Fabio Grosso said the maverick striker had not put in enough effort in training during the week.
Even so, they almost took a first-half lead when Emanuele Ndoj’s shot was pushed away by Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez and Alfredo Donnarumma went close after being allowed a free header at a corner.
Roma, fourth with 25 points, took full control after halftime and Smalling, on loan from Manchester United, broke the deadlock when he headed in from a corner in the 49th minute.
Eight minutes later, the Englishman headed down Justin Kluivert’s cross for his fellow centre defender Gianluca Mancini to volley home and he provided another headed assist for Edin Dzeko to add the third in the 66th minute.
In between, Nicolo Zaniolo, who scored his first Italy goals in their 9-1 thrashing of Armenia on Monday, had a goal disallowed after the ball went out of play in the buildup and Florian Aye had a consolation effort for Brescia ruled out for handball. Promoted Brescia have seven points.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)