Score: Olympique Lyonnais 4 A.S Roma 2 FT
– Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Lyon
Following recent losses to Lazio in the Coppa Itaila and Napoli in Serie A Roma would head out to France to take on Olympique Lyonnais in the round of 16 of the Europa League. The first meeting between the two teams since the 2007-2008 Champions League Round Of 16 in which Roma won. Roma and Lyon are two of the favorites to win the entire tournament. Lyon beat down AZ 11-1 on AGG to advance and Roma took down Villarreal 4-1 on AGG to get to this stage. It was set to be one of the most anticipated matches so far. It would be one of the most thrilling games of the tournament as it would turn into a goal fest. The goals came early an often Lyon broke up the scoring 8 minutes into the game when M. Diakhaby found the back of the net to give Lyon the early 1-0 lead not to long after Mouhamed Salah beat the keeper to equalize to make it 1-1 than just like that Roma would go up 2-1 from a Fazio goal. It was looking good for Roma getting two away goals Roma would take the 2-1 lead into halftime but in the second half Lyon took advantage with their crowd right behind them. As they got second half goals from Corentin Tolisso,Nabil Fekir and Alexandre Lacazette to take a 4-2 lead into the second game against Roma. Roma does lose but they do take what could be a very important 2 away goals back with them. This is far from over but as it stands Lyon leads 4-2 on Aggregate as the French side get an early lead in a 6 goal thriller.
There has been more transfer news this week regarding a few players as well as speculation of Totti and Spalletti’s future with the club. It has been revealed by Luciano Spalletti himself that he will leave the club if Roma don’t win anything this year Roma still have the Coppa Itaila and the Europa League to play for; the Giallorossi have a pretty good chance at both despite the situation. However it has become really important that they win something Spalletti will be a man that will be very difficult to replace so for the best in interest of the club I hope they win something he is the right man to lead this team forward. Also it has been reported that Roma legend Francesco Totti will retire by the end of the season however the truth to that rumor could be just a media stir up as Totti hasn’t spoken about his future publically his contract expires at the end of the season but Roma could bring him back if he wishes to continue. There has been more rumors regarding long term Chelsea target Raja Nainggolan the Belgium spoken on the amid Chelsea links prior to the match against Lyon. “We have just passed the first half of the season and you are talking to me about the transfer market already? I think I am doing well as I have always tried to do. Then this [contract extension] is a thing that we have to review in the future. Here I am happy, I like to play for this club, but these are things that we will see later on.” It seems very unlikely that he would jump ship during the summer. Also Roma target Atalanta midfielder Franck Kessie doesn’t want an A.S Roma move according to his agent as he desires move to Old Trafford to play for Manchester United. Than finally Roma has joined the race and is ready to battle Spurs and Arsenal for Belgium 19-year old Youri Tielemans he has 17 goals and 10 assists in 38 games in all competitions this season, Roma may be in need of some midfield reinforcements this summer they should look no further than the Anderlecht teenager as he is one of the best young players in the world at the moment would be worth it to bring him here it will cost between 20-30 million to bring him here. Luciano Spalletti would once again change up the formation however unlike before it would change to a formation Roma haven’t used this season it is unclear what inspired the change or whether we will see it more often going forward but Roma lineup up in 3-1-4-2 formation. There would also be three changes in the lineup. In goal would be Roma’s Europa league and Coppa Itaila keeper Allison Becker making his 12th start since his arrival in the summer he has shown promise this season he is very capable of the #1 spot Roma will be in good hands if Szcz?sny returns to arsenal after this season. Roma would go back to three in the back. Kosta Manolas would get another start as he would move out to right-back as he played in the right-center last week. Than In the middle as always would be Fazio than due to a RED CARD to Antione Rudiger in Roma’s last Europa league game against Villarreal it would be Juan Jesus filling in as the teams left-back. Than directly in front of the defense as the lone defensive midfielder would be Danielle De Rossi. Than on the wings would be the Brazilian pair of Emerson on the left and Bruno Peres coming in for Diego Perotti on the right as the wing backs. Than lining up in front of De Rossi would be Raja Nainggolan on the left side and Kevin Strootman on the Right side. Than up front Roma decided to go with two strikers up top rather than just one. On the left side it would be Edin Dzeko the team’s top scorer than bedside him coming in for Stephen El Shaarawy on the right side would be Mouhamed Salah. A fairly good lineup but Rudiger missing this game will be a huge loss Roma have options on the bench as well with Leonardo Paredes and Stephen El Shaarawy to their disposal a strong team and it would take a strong team to take down Lyon.
The Europa League knockout action would resume this week as teams would prepare for the Round of 16 of the knockout stages. Tournament Favorites Roma would travel to France for their first leg against another tournament contender Olympique Lyonnais. Roma despite a run a poor form advanced through the round of 32 after beating Spanish Side Villarreal 4-1 on aggregate over the two games the Giallorossi are currently 2nd in Serie A with 59 points as they trail league leaders Juventus by 8 points. The French side also got through to the Round of 16 after the team finished 3rd in their champions league transferring them to the Round of the 32 in the Europa League they got the job done without any problems as Lyon ripped apart Dutch side AZ Alkmaar 11-2 over the two games on Aggregate. Olympique Lyonnais are currently in 4th in Ligue 1 with 47 points the French side are 18 points behind league leaders Monaco much like Roma they also aren’t in the best of form. It will be the first match between the two teams since the 2006-2007 Champions league campaign where they met in the Round of 16. In which Roma prevailed 2-0 on aggregate. that season the teams played out a 0-0 draw in Italy before Roma lit Lyon on up with goals from Mancini and Francesco Totti in the return leg turning into a historic night as Roma advanced to their first ever Champions league quarterfinals. Both teams have a great deal of respect for each other before they were ready to battle both teams had kind words towards each other. The Round of 16 of the Europa league has been something Roma have struggled with when getting past this stage much like way Arsenal struggle in the Champions League Round of 16. Roma were given a chance to make emends for past failure. They are definitely some differences between both teams but they share some similar traits as well they built by a strong midfield and have a top quality striker that can score goals with ease. The big matchup in this is game is between Roma’s Edin Dzeko and Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette. Dzeko has scored 8 goals in 7 appearances in the Europa league and 29 goals in 38 appearances for the Romans he called this year his best season ever he hasn’t score in a few games but he still remains in top form. Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette isn’t no slouch either he has scored 27 goals in 34 appearances for Lyon including 2 goals in this competition. These two strikers are in top quality at the moment both are a threat to score at any moment. I would say that Roma were slight favorites due to their strength in the midfield but it is just too close to call the important thing for Roma in this game would be to get a few away goals even if they were to lose a few away goals could make all the difference due to the Stadio Olimpico being such a fortress for them. Very few teams can show up and get a good result there. Away goals is crucial for Roma also their defense will need to be in top shape without Rudiger after he saw red in his last game. Roma will need to play more defensive from time to time however once again away goals will mean everything. After several weeks of speculation both teams were prepared for this game as Lyon would welcome Roma to Parc Olympique as Italy would battle France.
It was clear from the very start that this was going to be an absolutely wild game and from the start it was living up to the expectations of being a top quality match. Very early in there were many chances Roma had a chance just 5 minutes into the game. After receiving the ball from Emerson from the wing Raja Nainggolan would go for goal early as it hit a thunderous strike from outside of the box but it was saved in the bottom corner. The Belgium had the right idea despite missing Raja is very good from that range. Roma would get another attempt just a few minutes later when Mohammed Salah took a shot from the center of the box after receiving the ball from Dzeko but Salah’s shot went wide to the left. Than a minute later Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette was brought down as he won a free kick on the right wing. The FREE KICK was in a dangerous area. In football it’s about taking advantage of your chances and Lyon was given a great one. In the 8th minute from a free kick taken by Mathieu Valbuena the Frenchmen crossed the ball into Raphael who sent a headed pass into Mouctar Diakhaby. The defender would hit it in the back of the net immediately from the pass to give Olympique Lyonnais the 1-0 lead as there was nothing Allison could have done about it. Eight minutes gone and Roma was already a goal down it wasn’t a great start. Lyon continued to attack as they tried to take advantage of the momentum but Mathieu Valbuena’s shot was blocked by the Roma defense. The defense was doing a decent job but they were suffering without Rudiger. Not long after the goal Roma began to push as they tried to claw their way back into the game. As Bruno Peres came close as he took a shot from the edge of the box but the Anthony Lopes was able to deal with it. At this point Roma were taking it up a notch after Emerson’s shot was blocked by the defense a minute later Roma had perhaps their best chance of the game to that point Mohamed Salah crossed a ball into the big man Edin Dzeko who tried to put it away with him head however he hit it just a little bit too high. The game seemed to be back in Roma’s control at least for the time being. Than finally in the 20th minute Roma broke the deadlock as their moment would come getting what could be a very important away goal. Off a goal kick that went deep Mouhamed Salah would take the ball off their defense in their danger area as the Egyptian would turn on the jets leaving the defense in the dust creating a break away between just him and the keeper he would sprint into the box and put it past Lopes; nutmeging him in the process firing it in the bottom corner to equalize. It would be Mouhamed Salah’s 11th goal in all competitions this season as well as his second goal in the in the Europa league campaign as he would make it 1-1. There wouldn’t be any real chances for a little while as the two teams continued to battle in Lyon. There would be several blocked shots but both still were struggling to create another big chance. There would be a delay in the match as Raphael would pick up an apparent injury. He would decide to play through it as play would resume. This would allow Roma to get the momentum back as Kevin Strootman and Raja both got close but the defense was able to deal with it. In 30th minute Roma would strike again as they would get another key away goal. Danielle De Rossi crossed the ball in from a corner but Lyon was able to deal with it as they tried to send it out of danger however Bruno slid to pass it back out to De Rossi and the Italian would cross it back in again this time finding the 6’5 Fazio in the box as he soar over everyone blasting a header in the back of the net to give Roma the 2-1 lead in the back end of the first half. It would be Fazio’s second goal in the Europa league and his 3rd goal this season not too bad for a center back he really has been a bargain for Roma. There would be one last chance for Lyon to equalize before the half but Allison saved Mathieu Valbuena’s late shot as it would end 2-1 in Roma’s favor after the first half.
Fazio would give Roma the 2-1 lead after falling behind early
A crazy first half to say the least Lyon jumped up to an early lead than Roma comes back with two goals within a short period of each other this fans are getting exactly what they thought they would two top quality teams with quality players its really kind of sad that they had to play each other at this stage. Lyon would go to their bench as Raphael would come off to prevent serious injury coming in for him would be the seasoned veteran Christophe Jallet. On the Roma side of things there wouldn’t be any changes and Spalletti’s team would remain the same. This game has become a tale of two half’s the game was still very much up for grabs. Edin Dzeko would give Roma an early chance to double the lead but his strike missed to the right. Lyon would get back into the game practically immediately After Dzeko’s strike. As Lyon would score a world class goal in the 47th minute near the center of the pitch Tousart hit a though ball to Alexandre Lacazette, he would give it a quick tap to Corentin Tolisso than he would pass it right back to Lacazette than Lacazette pass it back to Tolisso. He would get a good look from just outside the box as the youngster would smash it in the back of the net to equalize to make it 2-2 an amazing display of team play creating 5 passes in quick session as they would cause havoc to the Roma defense it happened so quickly that the entire Roma defense and keeper were out of position by the time Tolisso fired his shot in the back of the net once again there was nothing Allison could have done about it. It was discouraging for Roma but the Giallorossi tried to get the lead back as they didn’t give up. Roma would get another chance after the goal when Kevin Strootman took a pass from Mouhamed Salah and the Dutch international would strike the ball from outside the box but Lopes saved it. Despite the miss Kevin Strootman has shown real promise this season as Roma are finally getting what they paid for when they brought him over from PSV in 2012 we have learned that a healthy Kevin Strootman is a dangerous thing as he is one of Serie A’s most underrated players this season. In the second half things began to turn in a negative way as Lyon defiantly looked like the superior side after the break. Dzeko would try to get in once again but his shot was blocked by the defense. Lyon’s defensive game plan had worked fairly well against the big Bosnian as they were able to neutralize him as much as they could. At this point it became very one sided as Lyon were in control Roma goalkeeper Allison would see his goal attacked constantly. Rachid Ghezzal would give Lyon another chance to score as he tried to hit it from distance but Allison saved it to end the attack for the moment. Lyon was just getting warmed up two minutes later that would get another goal scoring chance Maxime Gonalons would also try from outside the box but once again Allison got to it to save the shot. Not long after Mathieu Valbuena following a Lyon corner would cross the ball into Maxime Gonalons but his header attempt would misfire. Alexandre Lacazette would get another chance as he would try to add to his assist but his shot from outside the box was again saved by Allison. The Brazilian keeper singlehandedly kept Roma in the game in the second half. The Lyon attack would continue to be a threat as the absence of Rudiger largely hurt them in this game. Mathieu Valbuena would take a shot from the left side of the box but Allison would deal with it once again making a world class save. Lyon would continue to get chances than finally they broke the deadlock to re take the lead after a bad miss by Lucas Tousart they took advantage with a great chance. In the 74th minute the goal fest continued after receiving a through ball from Lucas Tousart; the recent sub Nabil Fekir would get the ball in the box after receiving the pass and the Frenchmen took on several Roma defenders in the box dribbling around the lot of them to finally put it past Allison to give Lyon the 3-2 lead. Again Rudiger was missed on that play he was their I believe the goal could have been prevented. The Roman Brazilian wingbacks tried to get Roma back in it when Emerson connected with Bruno Peres on a cross into the box, Bruno would fire a shot in the bottom corner but it was dealt with. More heroics from Allison saved another Alexandre Lacazette shot on goal. Than the a minute later Roma would get another chance as Kevin Strootman sent a cross into Dzeko but the Bosnians header was saved in the center of the goal. Roma would make two changes as Leandro Paredes came in for Daniele De Rossi and Diego Perotti came in for Raja Nainggolan. I thought that the we should have brought in Diego Perotti earlier he was all over the place doing everything in Roma’s last game. In the very end of the game Allison made a few more saves. Than Emerson gave Roma there last chance of the game but his shot from outside the box was saved. The game looked to be over but Roma would get some rotten luck than as Alexandre Lacazette hit an unstoppable shot.in stoppage time Alexandre Lacazette hit a thunderous strike from outside the box into the top corner given Allison no chance as he would give Lyon to 4-2 lead. It would end minutes later as Lyon would take the advantage into the second leg however it’s not a done deal.
Alexandre Lacazette scores a screamer late in Lyon’s 4-2 Victory over Roma
With this conclusion match Roma falls behind by two goals but still managed to get two away goals a 2-0 win at the Stadio Olympic would see them through I see think Roma have a very good chance to do it. Those two away goals could be very important as Roma are nearly flawless at home. Following this match they head on the road to play 18th place Palermo which should be an easy win a game that will help Roma get their confidence back before they face Lyon again next Thursday at home. As they try an dodge another European disappointment Lyon may have a two goal advantage but Roma is very capable of turning it around this one is far from over.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Alexandre Lacazette Lyon
NEXT MATCH IN SERIE A: @ Palermo Sunday March 12th, 2017
NEXT MATCH IN EUROPE: vs Olympique Lyonnais March 16th, 2017
BY THE NUMBERS
On Target: 8
Passing Accuracy: 79%
On Target: 12
Passing Accuracy: 82%