S.S Napoli 1 A.S Roma 0FT
Stadio Olimpico, Roma
Following International break football has returned as A.S Roma continue their league campaign on match day 8 with Roma having rocketed up the table the last few weeks after beating AC Milan at the San Siro Roma would come up against their toughest test as they would welcome RED HOT Napoli to the Stadio Olimpico for the Derby Del Sole or in English the Derby of the Sun. Roma owns this famous fixture having won 61 of the meetings with Napoli winning 47 since it has begun. Last season these sides split the season series with both teams winning away from home. Both teams are on amazing runs of form with Roma having won 5 games in a row and Napoli who are top of the table having won 11 straight games going into last season the two sides finished one place apart of each other last season with Roma finishing second and Napoli finishing third. Napoli has been 0ne of the best attacking unites in the world and Roma has been one of the best defensive teams this year. This would be another statement game however Napoli would have the advantage going into this game with Roma being short in the midfield due to injuries. The Romans would be without Stephen El Shaarawy and Kevin Strootman two key players that Roma would miss. Roma surprising made a change of formation going from Di Francesco’s preferred 4-3-3 to the 4-3-2-1 to accommodate the absentees. The Derby of the sun kicked off and as we would expect Napoli came out with a strong attack in with Roma trying to counter with solid defense. Around 20 minutes in Napoli took their chance as Lorenzo Insigne found the back of the net to give Napoli the early lead. Roma would buckle down on defense to stop what was a relentless attack. Roma’s wasn’t able to resound with their own attack despite chances by Dzeko. Napoli continued to challenge the goal but good defense and great goal keeping from Alisson kept it close. After the first half Napoli lead by just 1-0. Roma’s attack started to come alive in the second half but Napoli wasn’t slowing down either as they had many many chances going forward. Roma’s defense kept Napoli out of the net a brilliant display of defense. Roma got some good chances in the second half nearly equalizing several times but they couldn’t prevail as Napoli stayed perfect in the league. Roma’s brilliant defense wasn’t enough as they suffer their second loss of the season. In what seemed like an unfair result to a very good performance. .
Due to the recent injuries of Stephen El Shaarawy and Kevin Strootman Roma were forced to make changes to their lineup for this big clash. Eusebio Di Francesco has made adjustments in nearly every match Roma have played this season today would be no different. Roma lined up in the a new formation going away from the 4-3-3 and going with the In goal would be the Inform Brazilian Alisson Becker who has started the season rather well since getting the starting job at the beginning of the season. At left back would be Aleksandar Kolarov who has done exceptionally well this season and recently helped Serbia qualify for the World Cup in Russia. Next to him at Center back coming in to replace Fazio would be Juan Jesus I think he had done well this season been very underrated. Beside him as the other Center back would be one of the best defenders in the league in Kostas Manolas who has been brilliant this season. Then finally to make up the defense at Right back would Bruno Peres who gets another start due to the fact that Florenzi is playing deeper in this game. In front of the them in the defensive midfield would be the duo of Lorenzo Pellegrini who replaces the injured Kevin Strootman and beside him on the right would be the Captain Danielle De Rossi to make up the defensive midfield. To fill out the attacking or central midfield would be Diego Perotti coming in for the Injured El Shaarawy; Radja Nainggolan moving from the wing to the center to play the center midfield role then on the right wing dropping down would be Alexandro Florenzi. Finally up front would be the Roma scoring machine the 6’4 Edin Dzeko playing as the lone striker. A different team then usual with a surprising formation change Roma are short on players having a few injures so they aren’t at full strength but Eusebio Di Francesco put out the best team he could given his lack of options.
After weeks waiting for this showdown between two top sides it finally got underway as they kicked off in the capital on a Saturday night. Napoli looked sharp from the tip looked really good going forward it was the wrong day for Roma to have starters injured. Early doors Napoli had a pair for chances from Dier Mertens. After his first shot went wide the striker got in position again just past the 10 minute mark. Kalidou Koulibaly set up the striker and Mertens tried to strike it from deep range as he stroke it from 35+ yards out. However Alisson was able to deal with it as he saved it in the bottom corner. Roma would try to respound from Napoli early chances with one of their own. Off a corner from kick Diego Perotti his cross connected with recently recovered Lorenzo Pellegrini. He would get his head to the ball it would be close but his header would just miss the target. Just before the twenty minute mark Napoli would get another chance when Lorenzo Insigne connected a headed pass to Mertens but his powerful strike from the left of the box was saved as Alisson made a rather heroic save. Napoli we really pressuring the Roma defense but Alisson was doing the job. However in the 20th minute the tides turned when Lorenzo Insigne ended up one on one with the keeper due to a defensive error and he slotted it past Alisson as the keeper was caught off guard not having enough time to react. It was practically the only error in the back all game. Napoli would take the 1-0 lead in this important match. Edin Dzeko tried to give Roma a quick fire response when he got his head to a cross delivered by Bruno Peres but Dzeko would miss just to the right of the goal. On the pitch it was still pretty even as both teams went after it but showed that Roma miss El Shaarawy and Strootman. As it got deeper into the first half Napoli got a few more chances with about 10 minutes to go into the half the man the myth the legend . Marek Hamšík connected on a header from the center of the box but it was saved once again by the big Brazilian. Alisson despite giving up a goal did not get rattled and was trying to get his teammates motivated he has been special for Roma this season been beyond happy with him. Napoli would get one last chance to end the first half when Faouzi Ghoulam connected on a cross with Dier Mertens but the striker’s header was once again dealt with by Alisson. That would do it after the first 45 minutes with Napoli having the slim 1-0 lead thanks to Insigne.
Mertens trying to intimidate De Rossi in the first half but Kolarov isn’t having it
Despite being 1-0 down Roma had been defensively strong throughout beside the mistake that was made it as many derby games do got testy with both teams being quite physical towards each other both teams wanted to win this badly. Not enough chances from Roma but it they were very unlucky to be down it wasn’t a dominated performance from Napoli. Roma tried to hit back right away from the start of the second half as Dzeko tried to strike it from distance but went wide. A good effort from the Bosnian he is very capable of scoring from those distances so I don’t mind that. Again Roma would try to get back in it after receiving the ball from De Rossi Aleksandar Kolarov hit the ball from deep a very powerful shot but it was slight off. Napoli had chances a few moments later but Mertens shot missed after Napoli’s failed scoring attempt Roma would be hit with devastation. Kostas Manolas would pick on an injury as he would be unable to continue. The Greek international came off and will most likely miss Wednesday’s champions league tie against Chelsea in London. Bad news for Roma he arguably the best defender on the team. Federico Fazio would come in to replace him. After the injury Napoli would be at it again when Hamšík tried to hit it from the middle of the box but Alisson once again stopped a great opportunity. Napoli had chances from Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne but the pair were wasteful as Alisson remained unchallenged. In the second half Roma’s defense began to really tighten up as Napoli’s attack found it more and more difficult to get clean shots off in their danger area as the game carried on it still remained very even. Napoli were still taking shots but weren’t having much success with it as Insigne took another crack at goal as the game ticked on but once again the shot was wide. with about a half hour remaining in the game Roma had their best chance of the game up to that point. Diego Perotti would send a cross into the box to find their tallest defender as Fazio who just came on connected with it his well hit header saved in the top corner. A glorious chance for Roma with Napoli struggling to get shots on target in the second half this was Roma’s time to break the deadlock but that’s easier said than done. Roma would go to their bench shortly after as Cengiz Ünder came on for Florenzi who would have liked to play a bit better. The young Turk would give Roma pace in the midfield. The game went on and on with Roma looking like the better side but still needed that goal. Roma would then go to the bench again as Gerson would come on to replace Lorenzo Pellegrini who had a pretty decent game but Roma wanted to out gun Napoli with pacey youngsters so the Brazilian youngster came on to help with the cause. The game tick on and on as Roma’s time to score was winding down with less then ten minutes to go. Edin Dzeko gave a late prayer Aleksandar Kolarov connected on a cross sent into Dzeko the Bosnian hit a very powerful header on target it but he was denied by the bar. A moment that Roma probably should of scored but luck wasn’t on their side on this occasion. In stoppage time Aleksandar Kolarov linked up with Cengiz Ünder on a cross the young Turk gave ROma a late chance but it was saved. Napoli would go on to win to stay perfect in a game where Roma probably should of at least got a point
Dzeko’s late chance Denied by the Cross Bar
It was another crucial statement game for Eusebio Di Francesco and Roma in a stretch tough game but this time a injury plagued Roma fell short in a narrow home loss to Napoli as the side from Naples won another derby game against the Giallorossi. Napoli stay perfect keeping their winning streak alive as Roma’s winning streak snaps after five straight wins. Napoli were deserving winners as they continue their relentless attack but they were challenged by the Roma defense aside from their goal they really struggled to get a clean look as Alisson still held his own in front of goal as this game could have easily been a draw as Roma just were unlucky on the day. Roma really missed El Shaarawy in this game the Italian has the skill set to cause problems on the wing I’m not saying that Perotti didn’t do a good job because he did but El Shaarawy has the quickness in pace to get after it and the way he moves without the ball is world class they could of used some of that to create changes. His absence was felt on the pitch as it took Roma quite some time to get a shot on target. Also being without Strootman was tough too because of what he bring to the midfield Napoli were deserving winners but against a fully fit Roma side we could have seen a different result. Roma can take some positives from this game it wasn’t a poor performance by any means Napoli just buried their chance that was the difference. Napoli are probably by pick for the title I don’t think there is a team in the league that can match what they bring I know its early but they are pure quality. Despite that I think you could argue Roma shouldn’t have lost. Manolas also picked up an injury in this game but Roma have to put this one behind them and move on as they travel to London on Wednesday to play an injury plagued Chelsea who just lost to the worst team in the premier league hopefully everyone is fit for this clash as they look to go top of their group. Before the return to serie a play again to play Torino followed by several games Roma will find quite easy a tough loss in the words of Fazio “we must stay united there’s a long way to go we lacked a bit of luck today but that’s football. Roma held their own against a top side despite the result.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Lorenzo Insigne
BY THE NUMBERS
On Target: 2
Pass Accuracy: 84%
Pass Accuracy: 88%
Top Of the Table
1.S.S Napoli 8-0-0 24Pts
2.Juventus 6-1-1 19Points
3. Inter Milan 6-1-0 19Points
4. S.S Lazio 6-1-1 19Points
5. A.S Roma 5-0-2 15Points (One Game In Hand)
Bottom Of the Table
16. Crotone 1-2-4 5Points
17. Sassuolo 1-1-4 4Points
18. Hellas Verona 0-3-4 3Points
19. Genoa 0-2-5 2Points
20. Benevento 0-0-7 0Points