Score: A.S Roma 2 Sampdoria 3 FT
– Luigi Ferraris Stadium, Genoa
Following Roma’s 1-0 victory over Cagliari last Sunday, Roma would return to action in their serie a crusade for their 22nd match of the campaign. Roma headed back on the road to square off against Sampdoria for the 2nd time in two weeks and after beating them in the Coppa Itaila and having won 5 games in a row. It would be their 3rd meeting this season; Roma would have thought they would make easy work of them. The landscape of Serie A the last few weeks as been changing Napoli and Inter have joined the title race in a big way so every win becomes very important it’s important to keep Juventus on their toes. Roma would go into the game in great form but in football sometimes you can have an off day. It started very well for the Romans very early in the game Bruno Pares gave Roma the 1-0 lead they wouldn’t hold the lead for all that long as Dennis Praet would break through for Sampdoria to even the score it would stay even until late in the 2nd half When Dzeko put away his 3 goal in 4 games to give Roma the lead a lead they would throw away within minutes Sampdoria would score twice in two minutes to give Sampdoria a 3-2 lead it turned out of be too much to overcome as Sampdoria would earn the 3 points damaging Roma’s position in the title race in the process, Juventus now 4 points ahead with Napoli only two points behind as well. A very poor performance a crucial loss with the feeling great disappointment.
There was a lot of transfer news and big time action this week in the window as be reach the final 48 hours of the window. But before that we have an update from the African Cup of Nations Roma star Mohammed Salah ignited Egypt at top their group with a World class free kick and on Sunday night Salah an Egypt advanced past Morocco to the Semi Finals where they will play Burkina Faso as they are favorites to take the African Cup back to Egypt so well done Salah. The Big news coming in this week is Roma have finally signed a player in this transfer window Roma agreed to a deal with Lyon’s Clement Greiner the deal is a loan deal with a buy option valued at 3.5M a very good player quite a bargain he had his medial on Saturday and finally joined. Roma has also brang in Atalanta youngster 20 year old midfielder Franck Kessie with a transfer fee of 25Million as well as sending two Roma prospects to Atalanta as a part of the deal it hasn’t been confirmed quick yet but according to multiple reliable sources it’s a done deal he will join the team in the summer after the conclusion of this season would be a big splash for the Giallorossi more details to follow. It appears that the business in this window has concluded as they have abandoned the other deals. As keeping the team together becomes the main concern over the next few days. There hasn’t been much change in the Kosta Manolas rumors Inter and Chelsea still in poll position to the land the Greek defender in the summer. Another big item this week is the possible transfer of Leandro Paredes the rumors had made me cringe he is one of the most promising talents we have. Liverpool, PSG, Tottenham, Chelsea and Juventus have been linked with the 23 year old Liverpool to appear to be in the driver seat as they are preparing on offer of 26.5 Million. I’d prefer he stays but if he goes I don’t want him on Juventus to many players go there to avoid the challenge it would be a betrayal so let’s hope he stays that’s pretty much all this week but a two potential stars so they did well so far in this window. Roma boss Luciano Spalletti once again went with a 3-4-2-1 it’s been heavily used since Salah has been in Africa. Wojciech Szczesny would remain in goal as he has been Roma’s #1 choice in Serie a season. Roma kept two out of their three defenders that they used last weekend Antione Rudiger would remain as the right back Fazio would once again deploy the middle as the center back. The only change would be on the left Thomas Vermaelen would replace Kosta Manolas at left back. The center midfield would be exactly the same all four players would remain in their spots for this match. On the left wing would be Emerson; on the right wing would be Bruno Peres, as the LCM would be Danielle De Rossi than joining him in the middle as the RCM would be Kevin Strootman. The attacking midfield duo would also remain the same with Raja Nainggolan playing on the left wing and Diego Perotti on the right wing. Than as usual up front would be the big Bosnian Edin Dzeko. A near identical team to the team Roma put out last week.
2nd place Roma would head back out on the road to head down to Genoa to take on Sampdoria for the 2nd meeting in Serie and 3rd total. They displayed great success at home this season but they have struggled mightily on the road this season all of their losses have been in road games they are undefeated this season at home. So the lack of success on the road has been gnawing concern. Roma have won both meeting against Sampdoria so far this season they beat them in September in a come from behind victory at the Stadio Olimpico where Totti scored a 90th minute penalty. Than just two weeks ago Roma smashed them up and sent them out of the cup. Sampdoria despite being 16th in the table they are very cable of putting together some really good performances against top teams. As I mentioned the landscape of Serie A has drastically changed over the last few weeks for quite some time it had been a two team race it has busted open quite a bit Juventus still proves to be leading from the front with Roma not far behind but it has become more than just them with Napoli on Roma’s tails as well as Inter joining the title race. So as you can imagine every game becomes important. Roma would be slight favorites in this match but we are the reminded that anything can happen in football. After days of preparation for the match Roma would arrive in as Sampdoria and Roma were finally ready for the match P. Mazzoleni would blow the wistle and we would get underway. Roma would take no time getting things going started hot and took advantage early in the 5th minute while Roma was on the attack Roma put together a gracious chance. Bruno while on the wing would give it to Raja Nainggolan who then gave it to De Rossi who gave it to Emerson very Barcelona like team work, Emerson would than attempt a shot from right outside the box the goalkeeper would save the shot but Bruno Peres would pick up the rebound and blast it in the back of the net to give Roma a 1-0 lead. Just 5 minutes later Roma nearly doubled the advantage Edin Dzeko got his head to a Raja Nainggolan cross but was saved in the center of the goal. It would be Bruno’s 1st goal in the Roma shirt after joining in the summer from Torino. Despite the lead Sampdoria was playing very well they have a few chances here and there but wasn’t able to get that great chance they finally got a chance in the 18th minute, Sampdoria would get a 1 on 1 with the keeper but it was saved. Than in the 21st minute Sampdoria would get a response to the Roma goal. While Sampdoria was on the counter attack there was a ball sent in by Luis Muriel from the wing into the box and summer signing Dennis Praet would only need one touch to smash it into the back of the net to equalize making it 1-1 a great strike. Szcz?sny couldn’t do anything about it a fantastic goal. Shortly after Luis Muriel would get it going again he was one of the bright stars in this match. He would hit a shot from the corner of the box hitting it with ease but just missed on the left side of the box. Sampdoria created a lot of shots on goal in the first 45 minutes with duo of Luis Muriel & Bruno Fernandes being the catalyst. Raja Nainggolan would have a great shot attempt missed right before the half. Both teams would share many chances in the first half but after 45 minutes it would remain even.
Despite going into the 2nd half even Roma’s struggles away from home continued to derail them. Roma were controlling the game statically, winning the possession as well as leading in a few other areas but Sampdoria wasn’t lying down they were creating a lot of good chances on goal Szcz?sny was a big reason why it was still level the Sampdoria attack was giving Roma a fair amount of issues. With Juventus winning against Sassuolo their game 2-0 a loss or draw could spell doom for the Romans. There would be no subs Spalletti sticking with the same team which I found a little bit surprising they weren’t in the best form I thought brining in El Shaarawy would have given them some more pace that they were lacking. The 2nd half would begin. Roma looked a little better but still weren’t playing they best football Bruno got it going again in the second half with a shot on goal just a few minutes in but was a bit he was wasteful firing wide. Roma would continue to get in scoring position several minutes later they would get a gracious chance while on the attack Kevin Strootman would send in a through ball into Dzeko the Bosnian hit the shot with power but it was just a little off. In the 2nd half Roma was doing a little better but still wasn’t an outstanding performance but at least they were attacking the goal. Sampdoria wasn’t giving up the fight either they still were showing great quality in this match. They created a very decent chance Sampdoria striker Fabio Quagliarella hit a shot from outside the box a great look but it went high and wide a good chance but poor finish I think he got a little antsy and took the shot once he saw the space he probably should of got into better position but none the less Sampdoria continued to attack the goal. Than Roma would get another attack going on the counter attack Raja Nainggolan found himself inside the box but again it was poorly hit as the keeper made a routine save. Despite the Miss Raja has been playing very well this season. Shortly after the goal fest would begin Roma had a chance to take the lead again in the 66th minute on another counter attack Roma had three men up all in fairly good position Emerson who was on the wing hit a long pass into the box where Dzeko was in position and the Big Bosnian hit a one touch shot into the bottom left hand corner past the keeper to give the Giallorossi the 2-1 lead with a little over 20 minutes to go. It would be Dzeko’s 15th goal of the season in serie a and 21st goal of the season in total. As he reclaims the top spot in Serie A, the lead would come and go just like than within minutes of Dzeko’s goal. Sampdoria hit back in the 71st minute on a double header than sent the ball into Patrik Schick in good space in the box and the Czech striker controlled it with his chest let the ball drop to the ground and shot it right past Szcz?sny as he fell to the ground for a belter of a goal again nothing the keeper could have done. Sampdoria equalizes to make 2-2 as they Lugi Ferraris stadium started going crazy. As Roma were visibly sick after conceding right after scoring but unfortunately it went from bad to worse. In the 73rd minute on a free kick Luis Muriel put it in the top left corner with a thunderous free kick. Once again there was nothing Szcz?sny could have done about it. Sampdoria would take the 3-2 lead. To attempt a comeback Spalletti brang on some reinforcements El Shaarawy, Leandro Paredes and the legend Francesco Totti would check into the game to try to steal a point. El Shaarawy would make his impact felt right away makes me wonder if he should have come on sooner. Kevin Strootman hit a long ball into El Shaarawy who used his pace and took a shot nearly scoring in the process. They were a few more chances but they just couldn’t comeback this time. It would end 3-2 in favor of Sampdoria as Roma’s title hopes become under threat.
Roma’s disappointment was felt throughout as Roma leave Genoa with no points. A crucial loss as they have lost serious ground in the title race. As a Roma fans it’s really frustrating every year we get so close only to fail there’s still a chance but it’s beginning to seem unlikely I haven’t lost hope but this one hurts. With Napoli’s draw with Palermo Napoli now only have a two point lead from second. As well as Juve taking a 4 point lead at the top. Roma don’t have any time to dwell on this one as they face Serie B side Cesnna in the Copa Itaila quarterfinal on Wednesday. The winner will player Lazio setting up a potential Derby Semifinals. Despite major disappointment there are some positives to be taken from this Edin Dzeko is in great form I think he has proven to be a world class player this season could see him scoring close to 40 goals this season in all competitions. Raja Nainggolan once again proving his loyalty to the club he loves as well as showing his class this season. In addition to them Mohamed Salah will be returning from the African Cup this month after a hopeful title from Egypt. His return could be huge for the Romans. Roma have a challenging next few games in Serie A playing the likes of Fiorentina next weekend as well as Torino to follow that game. Both teams Roma have lost to this season but Roma are unstoppable at home having a record 13 game win streak at the Olimpico. The next two games will make or break their season.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Luis Muriel, Sampdoria
NEXT GAME: Coppa Itaila Quarterfinal vs Cesena, February 1st
NEXT GAME IN SERIE A: vs Fiorentina February 4th
BY THE NUMBERS
On Target: 10
Pass Accuracy: 79%
On Target: 7
Pass Accuracy: 71%
TOP OF THE TABLE
1. Juventus 17-0-4 51Pts
2. A.S Roma 15-2-5 47Pts
3. S.S Napoli 13-6-3 45Pts
4. Inter Milan 13-3-6 42Pts
5. S.S Lazio 12-4-6 40Pts
BOTTOM OF THE TABLE
16. Sassuolo 7-3-12 24Pts
17. Empoli 5-6-11 21Pts
18. Crotone 3-4-14 13Pts
19. Palermo 2-5-15 11Pts
20. Pescara 1-6-14 9Pts