Score: Roma 4 Astra 0
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Following Roma’s 3-1 loss to Tornio in Match Day 6 of Serie A Roma would take a break from league play to rejuvenate their poor play as of late in the Europa League fixture against Romanian defending champions Astra in the second match of their Europa league campaign. After their disappointing draw to Vivtork Plzen in the opening game of the tournament. They would need a good result to get their confidence back. Roma would get right back to business dispatching the Romanians quite easily thrashing Astra 4-0 In Rome. Roma was the better side from the start Kevin Strootman’s early goal gave Roma the 1-0 lead than Fazio would double in right before half. Than a 2nd half own goal by Fabrício and Muhammad Salah’s strike would seal the easy 4-0 for the hosts as Roma would vault themselves to the top of Group E after a bitterly disappointing opening game the Road to Sweden is still ongoing.
Once again Spalletti would play a very different team for the match many of the regular starters would see themselves on the bench as Roma used a more unusual team than the one we are normally accustomed to seing from Spalletti’s side. The amount of changes to the starting 11 probably had to do with the fact they were heavily favored and they would play again in a very big game on Sunday against 3rd place Inter Milan this would give Roma stars such as Dzeko, El Shaarawy, Szczensy, Florenzi and Raja some must needed rest several didn’t play and may of the others had a decreased number of minutes. With two hugely important games against 3rd place Inter and 2nd place Napoli I think it was the right call giving some of the regulars some rest could really give Roma a freshness aspect to how they will perform against Inter and Napoli. Spalletti may have made many changes but the teams identity stayed the same as Roma continued to stick with the 4-5-1 formation once again. Roma’s #1 goalkeeper Szczensy would get rested while #2 Brazilian Keeper Allison would get his 3rd start of the season. The fact that he has started all the European games this season makes me think that he will continue to do so. Many changes were made but the defensive line stayed the same for the most part only one change on the line. Florenzi would be replaced at left back by Juan Jesus but everything else would stay the same Fazio and Manolos would remain at the ceterbacks and Bruno Peres would start in his usual spot at right back. They might be way better than their opponents but I think it’s important to stay with a strong back I’m not surprised that there weren’t many changes back there because it’s going to be important that they are in form with they play Inter this weekend. Lining up right in front of the defense would be Kevin Strootman in his usual spot being deployed as the left defensive midfielder joining him on the right side in the place of Raja Naingollan would be youngster Leonardo Paredes getting yet another Europa league start. Than the Three Headed Monster as the attacking midfield trio would be Diago Perotti on the left Juan Iturbe would get his 2nd start on the right side and Francessco Totti would start in the middle as the center midfilder. As the lone striker to my surprise would be Muhamded Salah who rarly plays in the middle. Despite the changes it is a good enough team to walk away with a win
It was a great night for football Two teams with a desperate need for momentum. Astra The Leicester City of the Romanian League who sent shock waves through ROmaina went they upset the likes of Dinamo and Steuna for the league title. The Defending Champions have heavily struggled this year finding themselves at the bottom half of the table posing no threat to the Buccuresti teams as well as losing their 1st game of the group stage. On the other hand, Roma has felt great disappointment this season in their own right missing out in the champions league and have struggled as of late losing two out of their last three games as well as failing to win their 1st game of the group stage. So both teams had plenty to play for getting momentum back for either team could turn their fortunes. Roma would go into the game with heavy favorites to win the game. When the match began it was clear that Roma were the much better team the touch of class of Roma was on another level compared to Astra. Statically speaking it wasn’t even close the Italians controlled the game Astra looked very poor were struggling defensively it would only be a matter of time before Roma would break the deadlock. It the 15th minute their Moment would arrive on a set piece right outside from the far corner Birthday boy Francesco Totti who turned 40 earlier this week would hit a cross in the box and find talisman Kevin Strootman who tapped it in to give Roma the earlier lead a deserving lead. Roma would continue them dominate play they would continue to push to increase the lead. Than in 45th minute right before the break would double the lead on another assist frim Totti on a Set piece this team connecting with Fazio giving them a 2-0 going into the 2nd half. It was a real mess in the box which casued the 2nd goal Astra have looked awful throughout the 1st half their mistakes cost them they were in a deep hole already and in all likelihood it was just the beginning. Astra barley had the ball it all had yet to test Allison in this game.
After an abysmal 1st 45 minute by the Romanians play resumed in Rome. With the Italians up 2-0 in the 2nd game of Group E. It was the same story in the 2nd half Roma were the far better side. Mistakes continued to strangle the Romanian champions as it continued so show that Roma far in a different stratosphere of talent and skill. Than three minutes into the 2nd half Astra made their biggest mistake of the entrie game. Diego Perotti took the ball into the left side after receiving the ball and attempted a cross into Salah but Fabiano in result of Attempting to clear it put the back in the back of his own net give Roma yet another goal for Roma and yet another mistake for Astra. Giving Roma the 3-0 lead early into the second half. It would get even worse only 7 minutes later Salah’s received a brilliant pass from totti would hit a weak ball near the left side of the goal the keeper made a poor save as it was pushed in the back on the next giving Roma the 4-0 lead. The goal gave Totti his 3rd assist of the game not bad for a 40 years old. Roma would have several more changes to increase the lead but it would end at 4-0. With the victory Roma would go to the top of their Group with 4 Pts the game plan worked for Spaletti’s army in this game. The next two games are very important for Roma giving the rest to some starters was key. Inter and Napoli are the next two games these period is the most crucial of the season so far.