Score: A.S Roma 2 Olympique Lyonnais 1 FT (Lyon 5-4 on Aggregate
-Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Following Roma’s 3-0 win against Palermo in Serie A on Sunday they would return to European action for the second leg of Europa League Round of 16 against Olympique Lyonnais losing 4-2 the first leg given Roma’s two away goals they only needed a two goal win to advance through. The Round of 16 of this competition is a stage is a place in which Roma has struggled in past years they weren’t in an ideal situation but they were capable of a comeback. Roma outplayed Lyon from the opening kickoff but it would be Lyon that would deliver the first blow as Mouctar Diakhaby scored for Lyon just prior to the two minute mark to give Lyon the 1-0 lead. It would mean than Roma would have to score three goals to advance. One Minute later Kevin Strootman would score to even the scores at halftime it would 1-1 draw Roma continued to show thet they were the better team but Anthony Lopes was in great from as he tried to hold off a comeback from the Giallorossi. Roma would get a glimmer of hope when 19-year old Lucas Tousart score an own goal giving Roma a 2-1 lead just needed one more to go through Roma continued and continued to take chances but it was too little to late as they crashed out of Europe despite winning 2-1 they lost 5-4 on aggregate as they Europa League Round of 16 continues to fail them.
There was no shortage of new this week a lot of speculations regarding Spalletti as well potential summer transfers. Roma manager Luciano Spalletti has been linked to Juventus as the man to take over for Max Allegri. The Italian manger stands firm that he will leave at the seasons end if Roma fail to win trophies, Spalletti’s contract expires as the seasons end as and more likely than not will be departing the club. Roma are eying Unai Emery of PSG as a possible replacement after his recent collapse in the champions’ league to Barca in a speculated match fixing. Roma could go in for the three time Europa league winner if Spalletti departs the Romans are also possibly interested in Former Inter boss Roberto Mancini. Sevilla captain Vicente Iborra has been linked to a summer move to Roma with Sevilla sporting director Monchi expected join the Italian giants this summer as well. Iborra would be a relatively cheap option would only cost about 10-12 million to bring him to Rome. If Kevin Strootman does leave to go to Man united he would be a good replacement for him even if he doesn’t leave he would be a very good option to strengthen their midfield. Also this week after impressing against Palermo Clement Greiner could make roma his home on a more permanent basis as the club is prepared to activate the midfielder’s purchase option. The 26 year old joined from Lyon with €3.5 million option to buy in January. Grenier’s ability to play in multiple midfield roles is said to be one of the reasons why the Giallorossi are considering making the move. The big rumor remains Kevin Strootman to Manchester United However it has died down over the last few days I expect that Manchester United are still interested though this story hasn’t gone away completely this wont be the last time we hear about this. Also the rumor for Luis Muriel have resurfaced as he claims that he has offers from Roma,Juventus,AC Milan as well as some English clubs as well. Luciano Spalletti would change the formation from their previous game but would keep a very similar formation as in the first leg. Roma would go with the 3-1-2-2-2 formation. In goal as Roma’s number two again the teams Europa league keeper would the Brazilian Allison Becker in goal. Roma would lineup very similar in the back making only one change from their game Sunday. Coming back from suspension Antonio Rudiger would take on the left-back role. The opposite of Rudiger playing as the team’s right-back would be Kosta Manolas as he would replace Juan Jesus in the starting 11. Than deploying the middle as always as the team’s center-back would be Fazio. The lone defensive midfielder would be Danielle De Rossi coming in for Leonardo Paredes. Than on the wingbacks from the previous game would be identical with Mario Rui playing on the left side and Bruno Peres on the right side. The attacking midfield duo would be made up of Italy’s best midfielder Raja Nainggolan on the left side and Kevin Strootman replacing Clement Grenier due to not being eligible for the game. The two strikers would be the Bosnian Giant Roma’s top scorer with 30 goals including 8 in the Europa league Edin Dzeko. To join him on the right Roma’s top scorer from last season Mohamed Salah. Roma would have Francesco Totti, Stephen El Shaarawy and Diego Perotti as subs off the bench. Another very offensive team to the help the comeback bid I did agree with the team selection Roma have the team good enough to pull it off.
It would be the home leg of the Europa League Round of 16 against Olympique Lyonnais the Giallorossi lost the first leg in France 4-2. Despite the loss Roma grabbed two important away goals but unfortunately at the end of the first leg Alexandre Lacazette scored a screamer in stoppage time to make it a 2 goal difference rather than just one the question becomes how crucial will that goal turn out to be. Lyon would travel to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome to take Roma on in their fortress. Roma are nearly unstoppable at home against the opposition not to many teams can come to the Stadio Olimpico and get a good result. Roma have lost at this stage of the competition several times in years past a far to familiar stge. It would be Roma’s golden opportunity to comeback from two goals down we saw a similar comeback earlier in the week as we saw Monaco overcome a 5-3 first leg defeat to Man City as they went on to win the second leg 3-1 on Wednesday as the French side would advance to the Champions League quarterfinals. Roma definitely have the weapons to crawl back from two down Roma would need to win the game by two goals they would need a 2-0 or 3-1 win to advance through. It would be slightly different Roma team Roma got a huge break as they got back one of Roma’s best defenders Antione Rudiger back from suspension after he saw red against Villarreal in the Round of 32. His absence from the first leg as very noticeable as there defense struggled as Lyon caused major problems. Roma also got some renewed confidence after dropping three games on the bounce they got the feeling of victory once again as they beat Palermo over the weekend as they were able to retain second in SERIE A it was crucial for them to get back in the swing of things. Roma still trail Juventus by 8 points however the battle between Napoli and Roma are quite close so it turned out to be massive as Roma only lead Napoli two points in the table as they battle for the final automatic Champions league spot. The Romans have been not in the best of form lately as they have been quite poor the last few weeks having the inability to finish off their chances it at least seemed that way and they were not shortage of chances. Since their Derby loss in the Coppa Itaila Semifinals I think they Psychological weren’t there as that loss took its toll but the Romans are back in winning ways now. Like I said last week these teams are very similar, the squad structure almost identical Roma is defiantly the better team but Lyon has weapons of their own. As it would be Chapter two of two of the most inform strikers Roma’s Edin Dzeko vs Alexandre Lacazette. Lyon also got themselves back in good form as they crushed Toulouse 4-0 over the weekend as however Lyon currently stand in 4th as they remained in the same spot as it seems very unlikely they are to move up as they trail 3rd place by 13 points. It would be Chapter two of this massive match up Italian Giants vs French Brilliance as Roma would welcome Lyon to the Stadio Olimpico as they were ready for Battle.
After preparation of the game it was ready to begin the second leg of the Europa league Round of 16. In the first leg of this fixture it was a back and forth battle between two top quality teams it would not be such game in the second leg. It was complete and utter dominating display from Roma Lyon had a really hard time doing anything in this game it was one-way traffic from the very start of the game it had looked like a comeback is very possible. Just passed 5th minute and Roma were already on the brink of getting back into the game. Following a corner Kosta Manolas would send a header pass into the middle of the box to Rudiger and the defender would hit a powerful shot at the goal but the bar took in the way of the opening goal as it hit the bar. Immediately after he smashed a header from the center of the box but he misfired. Two great chances within minutes of each other Roma clearly were ready to fight for their place in the quarterfinals. Not long after Roma got two more quality chances; Bruno Peres sent a through ball into Mohammed Salah a tried to put it away in the right corner but Anthony Lopes was able to save it to stop the counter attack. Moment later Dzeko took a strike from deep after receiving a ball from De Rossi the but Bosnian’s shot missed to the right. Roma was very much in control of the game as Lyon hadn’t even registered a shot yet they were in a good position to break through Lyon wasn’t posing any kind of threat to the Romans. However in the 16th minute luck went there way Maxwel Cornet would be brought down by Rudiger giving a free kick to Lyon. Mathieu Valbuena sent in a cross into the box off the free kick. Mouctar Diakhaby would head it into the bottom corner and terrific header it was perfectly placed Allison did all he could to save it but it was just out of his reach. Lyon would take the 1-0 lead in the game. Lyon would go up 5-2 on aggregate getting them an away goal. It would be a soul crushing goal for Roma as they now would need 3 goals to advance. Lyon hadn’t done anything in this game up to that point it was their first shot of the game. It was really important for Roma to make an immediate response. As it happens that’s exactly what they did one minute later; Christophe Jallet fouled Mario Rui to set up a free kick just outside the box. In the 17th minute Daniele De Rossi sent a ball into the box it was a high ball but he would find Kevin Strootman in the six yard box and the Dutch International just slightly got a foot to it as he would put it in the back of the net to make it 1-1 to get Roma back in the cup tie. Rudiger would just grab the ball but would be no big celebration as they knew they needed two more. It would be Strootman’s 4th goal of the season Roma now would trail 5-3 on aggregate. After the goal it became one-way traffic once again. Lyon’s big star Alexandre Lacazette was uninvolved he really didn’t make much of an impact in this game at all Lyon was putting together a horror show of a performance. Roma dominance would continue to attack the Lyon goal they would get several more chances. Not long after the goal Raja Nainggolan tried to get involved but his shot was blocked near the danger area in an attempted shot from deep. They followed that up with Edin Dzeko creating a chance for Mohamed Salah When Dzeko sent a header pass into the Egyptian winger but the Salah missed. Roma was just getting warmed up Roma no less than 10 minutes later Raja Nainggolan went from deep but missed. Lyon would finally get a decent change as it was nearing the end of the first half Mathieu Valbuena fired a shot from the left side of the box but Allison would be able to deal with it Lyon just wasn’t performing well at all as they started to park the bus nothing else was working. Near the very end of the half Kevin Strootman would get two fairly good opportunities to score. Strootman has been one of Roma’s stars over the last few weeks he has played very well during Roma’s slump having scored 2 goals in the last four games matching his first half of the season. Dzeko would give Roma one last chance as he tried from outside the box right before the end of the first 45 minutes but would miss. The first 45 minutes would end 1-1 with Roma dominating.
Kevin Strootman gets Roma back in the game with a first half goal in Roma’s 2-1 win
Roma have been in control of the game from the very beginning despite the even score they were blowing by Lyon wrecking them statistically the Romans had 13 shots in the first half as well as in control of the possession as they had the ball about 60% of the time more passes more accuracy they were doing everything very well just needed to do a better job of finishing off the chances. Roma would make no changes as they were doing really well however they were playing against the clock as they would still need two goals to advance through. Roma wasted no time repeating their first half performance Roma went on the attack right away Mario Rui dribbled near Lyon’s danger area than the Portuguese international sent a cross into the box to find Raja Nainggolan he put his head to it but his header was saved as Lopes dealt with it. Raja would get a position again pretty much immediately after as the Belgium international would take a shot from a difficult angle trying to put it in the bottom corner but was saved. Roma was just getting warmed up as they continued to go on the counter to break through Lyon was just sitting there and taking it as they just weren’t trying to concede. Danielle De Rossi would send a cross into the box off the corner to find Rudiger but the German’s header missed to the right. Roma’s attack was working but they weren’t scoring which is a problem is given the fact they need two goals to go through. Lyon was going very defensive they were jamming the box to prevent a goal. Bruno Peres would take Roma’s best chance of the second half as the Brazilian would a strike from deep but was somehow saved by Lopes. Lopes have been in fantastic form over both games he’s done very well. Finally Lyon realized they were a professional football team and got two pretty decent chances. Maxwel Cornet sent a cross into Mathieu Valbuena but he would miss from the center of the box. Mouctar Diakhaby tried to double up not long after but he missed following a set piece situation. Roma would decide to go to the bench Stephan El Shaarawy would come in to replace Bruno Peres. El Shaarawy would make an instant impact after just coming on in the 60th minute while on the wing he would fly past the defender covering him to get near the danger area as he would lunge towards the penalty area the Italian than would try to cross it in to find a teammate but Lyon teenager Lucas Tousart would deflect the ball into his own net to give Roma the 2-1 lead. Brilliantly done by El Shaarawy as he made an immediate impact in the game Roma now only trail 5-4 on aggregate they would just need one more goal to do it and they still had 30 minutes to get it done. El Shaarawy would continue to play the role of a super sub giving Roma another chance to score as he would fire a shot from the center of the box after receiving a pass from Raja the shot was close but El Shaarawy would miss. Roma would continue to fight back than with about less than 20 minutes to go Roma would go to their bench as Diego Perotti replaced Mário Rui try to give Roma a more offensive feel to their team. Several minutes later Roma would go to the bench one last time as the moment had come Francesco Totti would replace Danielle De Rossi. Totti would receive a standing ovation as he would make his 778th appearance for Roma as the 40-year Roman Gladiator would try to give Roma a late push. Alexandre Lacazette would be taken off for Lyon has posed no threat in this game as he underperformed mighty. Time was staring to run out for Roma; late in the game in the 88th minute EL Shaarawy go in on goal but his shot from the center of the box but he missing as time ticked. It had been announced that there were going 5mintues of stoppage time. It was now or never for Roma; in the 92nd minute Diego Perotti sent a cross into Dzeko the Bosnian header from the center in the box but missed too high. Time continued to tick in the 94th minute Stephan El Shaarawy sent another cross in to Dzeko but his shot was blocked it continued to be a race against the clock. In the last minute of the game in the 95th minute Stephan El Shaarawy after receiving a ball from Totti would try to shoot on goal but the shot was blocked. Stephan El Shaarawy did everything he could late in this game as he would try once more in the 95th minute but the Italian’s shot was blocked. Time had run out Roma just fall short of a famous comeback as the competitions second favorites crash out to Lyon 5-4 on aggregate.
Roma Manager Luciano Spalletti puts his hands up in disappointment as Roma fail to get the goals necessary to advance
Following the match they are knocked out of the Europa league as missed chances highlights the game once again were the best team by miles but was unable to get the necessary goals to advance through. Now Roma only really has the Coppa Itaila to play for and they also trail in that as well as they are down 2-0 to Rivals Lazio through the first leg. Giallorossi look to bounce back after European disappointment when they host Sassuolo on Sunday to try to make it two wins out of two against them this season. Napoli is on Roma’s trail only two points out of second place as they battle continues for the final champions league spot in SERIE A. Roma looks to be the team to beat but the loss to Lazio messed with the heads and lost their confidence as Roma go out in the Round of 16 in the Europa League once again. Alexandre Lacazette’s late goal in the first leg is what cost Roma the priority now becomes to win the cup and make sure they get back into the champions league. Next season with the additional Champions League spots Roma will be compete among the best once again.
BY THE NUMBERS
Passing Accuracy: 80%
On Target: 4
Passing Accuracy: 70%