Former Arsenal forward Gervinho was up to his old tricks of the match-winning kind as he led Roma to a 3-2 Italian Cup semi-final first-leg victory over rivals Napoli, scoring a brace to give his side the advantage as they prepare for their trip to the Stadio San Paolo.
The Ivory Coast international opened the scoring before Kevin Strootman doubled the advantage with a simply brilliant long-range effort that left Pepe Reina with no hope of keeping the ball out of the net.
Napoli did well to level the score, with both Gonzalo Higuain and Dries Mertens adding their name to the scoresheet, but it was left to Gervinho to net the winner two minutes from time and give Roma the spoils in the Derby del Sole.
“In our league, ninety percent of the matches are played defensively but it's good to play like this against strong players,” said Gervinho’s Roma team-mate Daniele De Rossi.
“It's good to see games like this, they're an advert for football.
“It wasn't good for us mentally to concede a minute after the restart. But after they made it 2-2, we responded brilliantly. Another good game like tonight's awaits us in Naples.”
Gervinho endured a frustrating time at the Emirates as he proved largely inconsistent, with his good moments when he demonstrated his pace and natural attacking ability outweighed by his tendency to crumble under the pressure when in front of goal.
He has mounted a resurgence in form since arriving in Italy, making 21 appearances this season scoring eight goals along the way, and he showed a rare calmness in front of goal when he tucked the winning goal towards the near post to secure the victory last night over the Rafael Benitez-managed Napoli.