The Ivorian was a much-maligned figure at the Emirates amidst inconsistency and a lack of overall production, but has excelled under former Lille boss Rudi Gacia in the Italian capital.
In an interview with L’Equipe earlier this week he pointed to the man on the bench as the secret to his Stadio Olimpico renaissance, citing the confidence the Frenchman has in him as central to his success.
And on Wednesday he repaid this faith once more in guiding the Giallorossi victory in the first leg of their cup semi-final tie with Rafael Benitez’s Napoli.
The 26-year-old opened his side’s account 13 minutes into the contest, latching onto a lovely through pass from Francesco Totti to cheekily dink the ball over the onrushing Pepe Reina and deposit into an empty net.
Kevin Strootman would net a spectacular strike from distance to firm up Roma’s advantage before the break, but a Morgan De Sanctis own goal and Dries Mertens effort on the other side of half-time drew the Partenopei level.
Enter Gervinho once more, the former Gunner finishing off a lovely team move from the hosts just two minutes from the final whistle to lift the Lupi to victory.
It’s the second straight match-winning display from the Ivory Coast international in the Coppa Italia, his 79th minute goal opposite Juventus just over a fortnight ago sending the capital outfit through to the semi-finals.
Roma and Napoli will meet at the San Paolo in a week’s time for the decisive second leg of the tie.
image: © mike wright