Score: A.S Roma 1 Qarabağ 0FT
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Following Roma’s domination of SPAL at the weekend Roma prepare for the final match day of the champions league group. As the worlds biggest club competition returns Everything is on the line as Roma have a chance to qualify with a win and can win the group with a win and a Chelsea loss. Back in match day 2 Roma went to the Baku Stadium and beat Qarabag 2-1 the chance to go through is there for them to make the knockout stage which is huge for a club like Roma after not being in the champions league last season. Qarabag would arrive to the Stadio Olimpico to try and ruin the party. Roma would be heavy favorites going into this one with the quality they have High flying Roma having the chance to close out the group here at home. They weren’t going to miss a chance to win out. Eusebio Di Francesco would have his side ready for a massive European night in Rome. Second place Roma against bottom of the group Qarabag as the Romans looked to keep their great form going on this Tuesday Night. Roma had a lot of chances in the first half and they nearly scored a few occasions but weren’t as sharp as they might of could of been. It was scoreless after the first half needed a goal Roma came out aggressive in the second half and it worked as Roma took the lead as Diego Perotti header’s beat the keeper to give Roma 1-0 lead. The Roma attack would only continue and continue in the second half with chances left and Right but Perotti’s decisive goal proved to be the difference as Roma win and thanks to Chelsea’s draw with Atletico Roma would win the group of death as Eusebio Di Francesco defined the odds to win the group despite no one believing that Roma could.
Their would be four changes to Roma in Eusebio Di Francesco’s 4-3-3 formation after several starters were rested last week Roma would put out a strong side for this much important game. In goal between the sticks would be Roma’s #1 the big Brazilian Alisson Becker he has been one of Roma’s best player this season as he has developed into one of the best keepers in Italy. Roma would keep a very similar back four to Friday’s game with only one change to their defense. At left back would be Aleksandar Kolarov a player that has been impactful on the attack as well as the defense he has used the wings so create a lot of chances for Roma been an excellent signing. Beside him as the left center back would be the Argentine giant Federico Fazio coming in for Juan Jesus. As the other center back would be Kostas Manolas who just signed a new deal this Roma this week as he tries to put in another good performance he scored the opener last time these teams played. Then to cap off the defense at right would be the versatile Alexandro Florenzi who has been a tear recently. We would see a few changes in the center midfield playing central coming in for Maxime Gonalons would be Captain Danielle De Rossi who is serving a Ban in serie a but is eligible to play tonight. To his left would be Kevin Strootman retuning for another start after scoring his first game of the season on Friday. On the right side we would see the return of Radja Nainggolan after sitting out the last game he would be coming in for Lorenzo Pellegrini who just scored his fist Roma goal in replacement last week. Then up front would be my favorite front three; On the left side would be Diego Perotti coming in for Cengiz Under as he was rested Friday. Then on the right side would be the In from Stephen El Shaarawy who had two assists against SPAL. Then finally up front as the main striker would be Edin Dzeko who just got out of his scoring slump last week as he looks to improve on that today. On the Roma bench they have the likes of Patrik Schick, Gonalons and Pellegrini.
Qarabag arrived in Rome as Roma was waiting to take them on in a massive fixture this everything on the line as Group C (The Group Of Death) Still remained up for Grabs. They Welcomed The Azerbaijan side to the famous Stadio Olimpico as were prepared to kick off in Rome on the final match of the champions league Group stage. Roma came out to start the game in complete control of the possession as the Italians attempted a well strategized attack knowing a goal would probably see them through given the state of the Roma’s stone wall defense. It was possession based football for the early parts of the game in fact we didn’t have out first chance until the 15th minute. Qarabag’s game plan was simple to play for the draw trying to contain the Roman attack was their major concern because he they realized the different in quality. Fast forwarding to about 15 minutes in Roma started knockout on the door creating some chances to kind of open up their attack. Diego Perotti connected with Stephen El Shaarawy on the corner El Shaarawy would take a shot from the side of the box but he missed. Moments later El Shaarawy would set up a change for Manolas the defenders shot was saved as he fired it at goal from the center of the box. The game began opening up a lot more as Roma were getting on the front foot. Just a few minutes prior to the 20th minute Kolarov set up Dzeko on a corner but his shot was a little high. A little later Dino Ndlovu would give Qarabag a rare chance he hit a lovey ball at the goal but Alisson made a wonderful save in the top corner. They wouldn’t get a lot more chances through the first half that was a very good chance but Alisson was just better. El Shaarawy had another chance near the half hour mark but his shot from the center of the box was too high. Roma were doing well but they needed to be sharper in front of goal they don’t want to leave here with a point three is what Roma want so it was a tad bit concerning. Roma continued to push forward as Roma strung some late chances together as the first half was winding down. With about 5 minutes to go in the half on a free kick situation Diego Perotti sent in a wonderful ball Manolas would get his head to the end of it a terrific chance but his header was a little high. A few minutes late Diego Perotti tried connecting with Federico Fazio off the corner the 6’5 Fazio’s header missed to the right as he got to much on it. In stoppage time Dzeko tried from deep but miss fired as Roma would get one last chance from Radja Nainggolan but his shot would be saved. After 45 minutes it was 0-0 Chelsea and Atletico Madrid also were in a scoreless draw at the same stage.
El Shaarawy gave Roma several chances in the first half but it remained goalless
It was a pretty good first half from the Italians but Roma could use some improvements going into the second half they needed to be more aggressive. Roma needed to take advantage of their quality they didn’t want to leave it up to Atletico Madrid and Chelsea if they were to get through to the next stage a goal was necessary. No changes were made by either team going into the second half Roma knew that they wouldn’t be scored on as Qarabağ played very passive through the first half only really putting together a clear cut chance once as looked like Roma would get a shutout is was going to come down to whether Roma could score. Just minutes into the second half Roma started to show that aggressiveness as Radja Nainggolan fired a shot from outside the box right out the gate Roma were on the attack his shot would be saved by the keeper but Roma looked much stronger and confident in the second half. Surely Roma would get their much needed goal sooner rather they later an aggressive attack can breakdown a conservative defense and that’s exactly what happened. In the 53rd minute we saw a moment of brilliance from Roma’s number #8 Diego Perotti. Perotti dribbling about 20 feet from the box sends a perfectly timed pass to Strootman who is just outside the box; Strootman then flicks it back to Perotti who was running to receive the ball. Perotti dribbles towards the box he dishes out to Dzeko who then shoots in front of goal the keeper saves It with his feet ball goes up in the air and Perotti picks it out of the air to head it in the back of an open net to give Roma the 1-0 lead in the second half. A extraordinary mental intelligence as Perotti orchestrates the entire play. It would be his 5th goal of the season he as just been exceptional all season.
Perotti’s Header Gives Roma the lead after a moment a brilliance from the Argentine
If the scores were to stay the same Roma would win the group and as it happened their would be a breaking news at Stamford Bridge in the Chelsea Atletico game. Saul Ñíguez converted a header off a corner beating Courtois to Atletico Madrid the 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute in London. This would be Roma would win the group if they win this game because Roma lead the head to head on Chelsea and would end with the same amount of points this would be Chelsea would have to win 2-1 in order for them to finish top. Back to action in Roma it seems like a done deal as Roma was aggressively attacking Qarabag while Alisson and the defense we being unchallenged by the opposition with about a half hour remaining and Chelsea clock still ticking. Radja Nainggolan would get a good chance for Roma the Belgium international took a well hit shot deep into the top corner from out side the box but was saved by the keeper a excellently hit shot from the midfielder. A few minutes later Dzeko would test his range as he shot it from deep but it was saved in the center of the goal. At this point Roma would make their first change as Stephan El Shaarawy came off to make room for the young Brazilian Gerson it was another good performance from the winger. Their would be more news coming out of Stamford Bridge their would be an equalizer as Eden Hazard coasted down the box to fire a shot it would deflect off Savic being credited as an own goal making it 1-1 in 75th minute. Chelsea would need anther goal to win group. Back in Rome they were pushing for a second Aleksandar Kolarov came close with a FREE KICK just missing. Roma would make their second change as Pellegrini came in for the man of the match Diego Perotti who was excellent all game. Kevin Strootman minutes later would take a shot but would fire wide, Qarabag then would get a late chance with Míchel getting his head to a cross but Alisson made another save in a uneventful night for the keeper. Following the save Aleksandar Kolarov shot from Aleksandar Kolarov cross would be saved. Then a late Dzeko strike missing would wrap things up. As the game would end with Roma as 1-0 winners back in London Chelsea and Atletico were still even at 1-1 after 4 minute of stoppages it would end as a draw. Meaning AS Roma win Group C they delivered when no one believed they could as Di Francesco and Roma are looking like the dark horses. Roma and Chelsea get through to the round of 16 Atletico head to the Europa League ending them run of dominance in the Champions league while Qarabag go out of their first champions league campaign. Best of luck to Qarabag, Chelsea and Atletico for the rest of the season this group as been an absolute pleasure to be apart of.
Roma Players Celebrate with their fans as they win the Group Of DEATH
In a game where it was necessary for Roma to win with everything on the line Roma delivered and pulled off the impossible. Going into this game Roma needed a win to qualify for the Knockout stage but could win the group if Chelsea loss or drew due to Roma’s head to head advantage. Both happened here tonight Roma were heavy favorites in this game as they took on bottom Qarabag who had not been in the champions league before on paper it was all Roma but in the champions league you just never know Roma were in great position have allready played the tough opposition allready. After a scoreless first half things were getting nerve raking but a header from Diego Perotti fired home the winner the man who scored the winner in stoppage time of the last day of the season a year ago to get them in Europe as delivered for Roma as they win their Group something that no one believed could happen. Everyone picked Atletico and Chelsea to go through in this group of death. A man who Luciano Spalletti never believed in his thriving under the Eusebio Di Francesco. Tonight he is my man of the match winning it for the 4th time Diego Perotti only Dzeko as more this season for Roma he is been one of the best players in the champions league this season it would be outrageous if he doesn’t get picked for the Argentina national team this summer. Not only did he score the winner but he was flat out the best player on the pitch for a Roma team that was trying to win the group. The team from Azerbaijan tried to put up a fight against Roma very much tried parking the bus to earn what would be a fantastic point. They made Roma work for it despite being overmatched. In Eusebio Di Francesco’s first season he has taken this team to an incredible level given what they lost over the summer. Roma won this group because of there victory against Chelsea it came down to one game and delivered. This Roma team can go far in this competition if they are able to Avoid Real and Bayern in the Round of 16 I think Roma can make the Last 8 no one gave them chance to get out of this group no one will give them a chance in the next Round either but once again I believe Roma will fight to the end.
Man Of The Match: Diego Perotti(4)
Next Match: @ Chievo Sunday December 10th, 2017
BY THE NUMBERS
On Target: 8
Pass Accuracy: 87%
On Target: 2
Pass Accuracy: 72%
Champions League Group C FINAL TABLE
1.A.S Roma 3-2-1 11Pts (Advances to Champions League Round Of 16)
2.Chelsea 3-2-1 11Points (Advances to Champions League Round Of 16)
3.Athletic Madrid: 1-4-1 7Points (Advances to Europa League Round Of 32
4.Qarabağ: 0-2-4 2Points Eliminated