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PASTORE Relieved after goalscoring return

Favier Pastore was delighted to be able to make a contribution as Roma beat Cagliari 3-0 on Saturday evening to boost their Champions League qualification hopes.

Pastore, making his first start of the year for the Giallorossi, marked that moment with a fine goal in just the eighth minute - a strike that gave Claudio Ranieri's side an early 2-0 advantage that they never looked like squandering.

The Argentine had another chance to score a second - crashing an effort against the crossbar after a sublime team move - before his withdrawal just after the hour-mark.

He received a healthy round of applause from the Stadio Olimpico for his efforts.

"When I saw that Justin [Kluivert] was going to stop and play the ball back inside, I immediately thought I wanted to control it and take a shot," Pastore said, when asked about his goal.

"The defender was a bit off me and could not get tight enough in time to block it. I tried to slot the ball just inside the post rather than hit it as hard as I could - it doesn't always need to be done with power.

"The shot went in and it helped calm the team down and win us the game. It's a shame about the other one that hit the bar - that would have been an even better goal."

He added: "I think we played well, it was important to win and take the three points in the race for the Champions League. Today we had an important match and we produced a great display."

Pastore was asked what Ranieri had done to help turn things around, following what was arguably one of the team's best performances of the campaign.

"He understood the situation we found ourselves in," Pastore said.

"He spends time and says the right things with every player. He's asked to do the basics right and not to concede goals - and then build on that foundation with our quality to create chances at the other end. Ranieri has been good for our confidence as well.

"I was unlucky and got injured almost as soon as the season started, and now I really want to do well. These have not been easy months for me but I have always trained as hard as I could to be available as soon as possible.

"I got a bit of a reward for that today - I need to continue in this vein, games like this make me happy."
Source: As Roma
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