Score: A.S Roma 2 Qarabağ FK 1FT
Baku National Stadium,Azerbaijani
Following three straight wins against Verona, Benevento and Udinese Roma would look to make in four straight as they return to Champions league play in the second match of Group C. After a 0-0 Draw with Atletico Madrid in the opening match of the competition Roma would head out to the small country of Azerbaijani that has 51 million less people then Italy as Roma prepared to face Qarabag the countries first ever champions league team as the Azerbaijan side would welcome Roma to The Baku National Stadium. A place that is unfamiliar territory for Roma the Italians are a much better side and possess quality that Qarabag simply do not have. Roma would go into the game as very heavy favorites but this would be Qarabag’s first home game in Champions league history so you would think they would put in a good effort in front of their home fans. Roma once again made changes to there side not their strongest team as players were rested to keep them fresh for the upcoming game with AC Milan but most of the regulars were there. The game kicked off and it was all Roma early doors as they didn’t have to wait very long to get things going as Kostas Manolas’s diving header put Roma up 1-0 in the opening 10 minutes. Roma continued to show their quality early in as Dzeko found the back of the net scoring his 6th goal in the last 4 games to make it 2-0 Roma. Qarabağ did end up pulling one back around the half hour mark as Pedro Henrique became the first champions league scorer in club history. It would be 2-1 Roma after the first half In the second half Roma created several more chances to score while Manolas made it very hard for Qarabag to get good shots as they failed to get a shots on target in the end it would be a 2-1 Roma win not the best performance but at the end of the day three points are three points a win is a win. Roma with a win and a draw takes them to 2nd in group C with four points thanks to Chelsea’s Late winner against Atletico as it puts Roma in great position after two games as Eusebio Di Francesco gets his first champions league win as manager.
In Roma second match in this year’s champions league Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco would made adjustments to his side once again. He has been rotating the team quite frequently Roma have a lot of depth so I think it is a smart tactic Roma again in their accustom 4-3-3 formation the signature formation of EDF. In goal between the sticks would be Alisson Becker who remains in great form the Brazilian made 9 saves in his first champions league game this year against Atletico as well making the Champions League TEAM OF THE WEEK. Roma’s back four would look a little different as two changes would be made to the defense. At left back it would Aleksandar Kolarov once again he as been a bright star in Roma defense and has been an impact on offence as well epsically up and down the wings. Next to him as the left center back replacing Fazio would be Juan Jesus as he makes his return to the starting 11. The other center back would be one of Italy’s best defenders Kostas Manolas. Then finally to make out the defense coming in for Florenzi would be the Brazilian Bruno Peres. In the central midfield their would be two changes to the trio in the middle. Making his second Roma appearance would be Maxime Gonalons coming in for captain Danielle De Rossi to play center midfield. The left Center midfielder would be one of Serie A’s best Radja Nainggolan who would be serving captain in this game. Then on the right side replacing Kevin Strootman would be Lorenzo Pellegrini as the youngster gets his first champions league start. The front three also would look a little bit different as well. Switching sides to play on the left wing would be Stephen El Shaarawy who stole the show over the weekend scoring two goals I’m very happy he is getting another start. On the right wing coming in for Diego Perotti would be Grégoire Defrel the Frenchmen hasn’t played that well this season but he is given another chance to show what he can do. Then up front as the main striker Roman scoring machine the RED HOT Edin Dzeko who has scored 6 goals in 6 games. Another strong lineup with solid subs ready off the bench.
After speculation and preparation for this match the Champions league was officially back with another night under the lights. The first ever for Qarabag and Azerbaijani. You could feel the energy and the excitement as the game kicked off in a crucial European night. As many would expect Roma looked like better side early in they play very well away from home having won 7 straight games away from their own road one of the best road teams in World Football. This showed very early into the match as they attacked the Qarabag goal very early in fact it took them less then ten minutes to kick off the match in true Roman style as they showed them what they could do. In the 7th minute of the match Roma broke the deal lock off a corner sent in by Aleksandar Kolarov the ball was punch out by Qarabag’s keeper Ibrahim Sehic however it fell to the feet of Lorenzo Pellegrini from just outside the box; Pellegrini tried to catch Sehic off guard as the Italian crossed it in to Manolas who connected on a diving header putting it in the back of the net to give Roma the early 1-0 lead. It was Kostas Manolas’s first goal of the season scoring hos first champions league goal for the club.
Manolas find the back of the net Early to Give Roma the early 1-0 Lead
Roma continued to be in control dominating in possession and were passing very well with very sharp passing throughout much of the first half. Roma got another chance less then tem minutes later as Roma would try to get dream start. In the 15th minute Defrel gave a short pass into El Shaarawy in the box El Shaarawy then hit a chip pass with his back foot sending a phenomenal delivery into Dzeko inside the box and Dzeko did what Dzeko does . The Big Bosnian then controlled the ball with his chest just as the ball hits the ground the striker smashed it into the top corner taking a slight touch off the cross bar squeezing just underneath the bar as he gave Roma the 2-0 lead after less then 20 minutes. It would be Dzeko’s 6th goal in four games and his 7 goal this season. Also what a pass from El Shaarawy excellent hit cross to set up a tremendous goal he certain deserves a regular spot on the starting 11 now. Roma got their dream start it had looked like it would be a long night for Qarabag El Shaarawy remains in terrific form I see him getting plenty more starts. After an El Shaarawy strike was blocked Roma got another chance a little later when Lorenzo Pellegrini connected with Gonalons with a decent cross but his header slightly missed. minutes later Roma would try to go for goal again when Edin Dzeko tried an audacious attempt blasting it from 35 yards out as Sehic had to slide but he got on top of it. Roma were flying it was looking like it was all Roma but that was about to change. In the 28th minute after a failed tackle by Bruno Peres near Roma’s danger area Dino Ndlovu made a pass into the box to find Pedro Enrique who put it top corner to score Qarabag’s first ever champions league goal to make it 2-1. Enrique burst into celebration as he ran to the fans to celebrate with them. It was as Dzeko described post game a “stupid goal” it was very avoidable a poor defensive display on the play you can really fault Alisson for the goal it was an error by his defense that led to the goal. It gave some confidence back to them but Roma still went after it as well. Just past the half hour mark Roma had a glorious chance when Bruno Peres connected with El Shaarawy on a cross near the touchline nearest to the goal El Shaarawy got his head to it but was denied as Sehic made an amazing save The Bosnian keeper was in top form in this game. Kolarov hit a shot from deep right before the half but again it was saved by Sehic that would do it. After the first half Roma lead Qarabag 2-1 thanks to goals from Dzeko and Manolas.
Dzeko Watches his Strike Hit the Back of the Net to score his 7th goal of the Season
A strong first half from Roma scoring quick goals to start but they could of done a bit better through the first 45 minutes Qarabag as shown they have some fight epsically after their goal I expected them to come into the second half with great confidence and they did. Qarabag had two chances early in the second half hunting for their second goal. Mahir Madatov took a long shot from a difficult angle and missed largely due to the amount of pressure applied by Kostas Manolas. Míchel tried to strike it from deep but Manolas again forced a bad shot. A little later Roma got after it once again as Stephan El Shaarawy connected with Lorenzo Pellegrini. Pellegrini tried a shot from deep it was well hit but was again saved by Sehic who was having a terrific game for Qarabag. With a about an half hour to go Roma had to go to their bench due to the injury of Grégoire Defrel coming into replace him on the right wing would be the versatile Alexandro Florenzi. Pedro Henrique would give another crack on goal for Qarabağ but much like all of their chances he misfired. Roma responded with a scoring chance of their own Bruno Peres tried to make up for his first half mistake as he stroke a well hit ball from the side of the box but was saved despite a fabulous effort. Roma would then go to their bench as Danielle De Rossi would come in for Maxime Gonalons. With about 10 minutes to go Edin Dzeko had a chance to score his second. when Aleksandar Kolarov connected with Dzeko inside the box the striker stroke the ball from the center of the box but his shot was close but just missed. Roma at this point would make their last change as Kevin Strootman came in for Pellegrini but I got to say Pellegrini had an excellent game he has been really impressing me lately. There would be a few more misfiring shots from Qarabag as they were really struggling to deal with Manolas he continued to make it really difficult for them to take good shots. Roma had two chances for Roma from Florenzi and Dzeko but the writing was allready on the wall as Di Francesco Giallorossi won their first game of this years champions league.
Wasn’t Pretty But Three Points is Three Points as Roma move to Second In Group C
Roma get a very important win in their second champions league game putting them in very good position to advance through to the knockout stages. Its very early days in the group but after two games they allready have a 3 point advantage on a team we would have thought would have been the favorites as Atletico Madrid find themselves with just one point over the first two games after Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi’s late goal buried the Madrid side late. This means if Roma win or draw their next game against Chelsea it could put them into poll passion to advance it is only two games so far so I’m not going to overact that much but in a very tough group like this one it looks good for the Italians. This wasn’t Roma best performance but I thought Roma did pretty well throughout the game they didn’t play their best best team because they play Milan Sunday at the San Siro. Despite that they got plenty of scoring opportunities through the match with Dzeko scoring again a absolute wonder goal as the Bosnian scored his 6th goal in 4 games taking his season total to 7 goals. Manolas also getting on the score sheet for the first time this season. It wasn’t the best ever performance but it was good enough for the three points and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. The man of the Match tonight goes to Kostas Manalos not only did he score the opening goal of the game but he was unplayable defensively as he made it very difficult for Qarabag not just to score but to get a clean shot on goal he frustrated the opposition all day in quite a heroic performance if he can play like that for the rest of the season Roma will be very strong in the back and it will be hard to score against them. Following this game Roma go on quite a challenging stretch as they play AC Milan away this weekend followed up by The Derby Del Sole against Napoli and then Chelsea in the Champions League. If I’m being honest Napoli and Chelsea are much hard games AC Milan is still a big game but Roma are the much better side and have done really well against them the last few years. Roma get their forth win in row the Romans are just hot right now and as long as Dzeko keeps scoring I see it continuing to be the case.
Man Of the Match: Kostas Manolas
Next Match in Champions League: @Chelsea, Wednesday, October 18th, 2017
Next Match In Serie A: @A.C Milan, Sunday October 1st, 2017
BY THE NUMBERS
On Target: 9
Pass Accuracy: 87%
On Target: 1
Pass Accuracy: 80%
Champions League Group C
Chelsea 2-0-0 6Pts
As Roma 1-1-0 4Points
Athletic Madrid: 0-1-1 1Point
Qarabağ: 0-0-2 0 Points