Cagliari vs. Roma, final score 1-3: It's Champions League for Roma, thanks to Destro's hat trick

Claudio Villa

Mattia Destro was the star of the show, hitting a hat trick to ensure Roma will finish no lower than third place.

Roma needed just a point to ensure they'd finish no lower than third this season, but they went ahead and won anyway, ensuring they maintain at least a nine-point lead over Napoli. No matter what, the lupi will be in Champions League play next season, but keeping hold of second means they'll get to skip over that silly qualification process.

Despite Sardinia holding a strange sway over Roma, with the capital side rarely able to grab wins on the island, it was a fairly simple victory for the visitors on Sunday. Cagliari were disciplined, physical and ready to hit on the break, but Roma were prepared to capitalize on any mistake.

And that led to a hat-trick from Mattia Destro. The forward, whose season didn't begin until December thanks to injury, has now scored 13 goals in 12 starts, and seven goals in his last six games. Has the 23-year-old just booked a trip to Brazil?

The first goal came on the break, with the defense focused on Gervinho. Albin Ekdal got in the way of Cagliari keeper Vlada Avramov, allowing the Ivorian to slip the ball over to Destro. A simple tap in, and Roma were in front.

Destro's second came way too easily. With Cagliari pushing forward for the equalizer, Roma were again able to counter. Radja Nainggolan pushed through the middle, sliding a perfect through ball to Destro. The Italian went one-on-one with Avramov before easily putting the ball into the bottom left corner.

Gervinho once again played an instrumental role in the third giallorossi goal. Running through the middle of the Cagliari shirts, he picked out the perfect ball for Alessandro Florenzi out on the left. Florenzi obliged with a lovely threaded pass to Destro, who again had no trouble burying the shot.

Cagliari did manage to pick up a late consolation goal. Mehdi Benatia bundled over Mauricio Pinilla inside the area, and it was Chilean who stepped up to the spot. Morgan De Sanctis, who'd only had to make his first save an hour in and was probably enjoying a nice little nap, went to his right, but Pinilla's sharp shot went straight down the middle.

Cagliari: Avramov, Avelar, Astori, Oikonomou, Pisano, Ekdal (Eriksson 50), Conti, Dessena, Cossu (Ibraimi 68), Nene (Ibarbo 57), Pinilla

Goals: Pinilla 89'

AS Roma: De Sanctis, Romagnoli (Torosidis 45), Castan, Benatia, Maicon, Nainggolan (Bastos 84), De Rossi, Pjanic (Taddei 74), Gervinho, Destro, Florenzi

Goals: Destro 32', 56', 74'

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