Napoli’s Late Goal isn’t enough as Roma steal points in Naples #374

A.S Roma 1 S.S Napoli 1 FT


Following Roma’s triumph in the Champions League against cska Moscow Roma would prepare for one of the biggest matches of the season. As Roma traveled to Naples for the Serie A match of the week . It would be another edition of the Derby Del Sol between Italian heavyweights Roma and Napoli. This is a derby that’s for the most part Roma have dominated. However in recent years it has been one of the most exciting and competitive derbies in Italian football. It does not have the hatred that the Roman Derby does but it certainly has the competitive spirit. Despite the fact that Roma statistically have owned Napoli and there 162 matches this match it’s incredibly competitive. Which makes the Derby so great is how similar these teams are in terms of their personnel. It’s a slightly weakend Roma team to the team we saw last season as well as a Napoli team with Roma Legend Carlo Ancelotti at the helm after the departure of Mauricio Sarri. Last season Roma split with Napoli which included an emphatic for to win at the Stadio San Paolo that temporarily ended Napoli’s scudetto chances. In the last four meetings the home team is without a win. Something Roma tried to take full advantage of to keep the streak going. Napoli went into the match as favorites and showed exactly why. They attacked Roma pretty much from the opening kick of the match they dominated at least for some of the match. However Roma did take advantage when they had an opportunity birthday boy Stephan El Shaarawy found the back of the net to give Roma a surprising 1-0 lead. Roma did a sensational job defending and keeping a Napoli in check. They were able to hold on to the lead but as it appeared that it was only going to be a matter of time before Napoli found the back of the net. A victory is something that  Roma wouldn’t have deserved at the brink of death in the 90th minute Dries Mertens broke Roma hearts with a 90th minute goal. A performance Roma should be proud of despite the fact they leave the San Paulo with a bitter taste in their mouth they stole a point in Naples one of the toughest home grounds in all of Italy.


As usual Eusebio di Francesco set up his Roma side with their typical 4-2-3-1 formation. Coming off a Champions League match in midweek Roma made a few adjustments ahead of the derby. In goal would be Roma’s number one the Swede Robin Olsen. Roma’s backline would consist of returning to left back Alex Kolarov beside him would be the centre-back partnership of Juan Jesus and Kostas Manolas as Federico Fazio was on the bench. Then at right back would be Davie Santon who continues to play well and reinvent himself at Roma.  Roma’s defensive Midfield would be the duo of Steven Nzonzi and Daniele De Rossi who have on multiple occasions to work together quite well. In central midfield for Roma would be a Lorenzo Pellegrini who continues to overachieve this season. Beside him on the left wing would be birthday boy Stephan El Shaarawy. Then on the right-wing would be Turkish Talent Cengiz Under. Up front as Roma’s main Striker would be the reigning Champions League player of the week Edin Dzeko who going into the game was one goal away from 8th all-time on Roma the scoring list. Then as always a strong bench with the likes of Federico Fazio Alexandro Florenzi and Bryan Cristante.



After preparations and predictions for this much anticipated match in Italian football. Serie A game of the week had finally arrived. Saturday night as Roma and Napoli were moments away from kick-off. In the derby Del Sol as Stadio of San Paulo on this Italian night  Sunday Night Football was here as the game of the week kicked off. When the match kicked off we saw what we expected to see. Napoli was in complete and utter control of possession. Despite not a lot of chances coming as fluidly as they would later on in the game in the opening moments Napoli was attacking Roma while being incomplete control of the game due to the possession battle. Napoli had it the opening chance through Milik in the opening 10 minutes as his header went a bit wide coming of a corner. In the attacking sense Rome was finding it difficult early. They struggled due to the lack of possession that the Romans had. However in the opening 20 minutes Roma had a few chances to pull ahead. Edin Dzeko saw shot from distance go wide. Despite the circumstances of the match in the 14th minute birthday boy Stephan El Shaarawy surprised the San Paulo. On one of Roma’s few counter attack opportunities. We saw Under Dzeko and El Shaarawy in Napoli’s box in a dangerous position. Incredible footwork Bye Under allowed him to break through before cutting the ball and to the center of the box. Edin Dzeko let the ball go through his legs giving the chance to El Shaarawy who was in a better position. El Shaarawy slotted  the ball in the bottom left corner as it hit off the post the ball bounce off the post going into the opposite side of the net to give Roma the 1-0 lead.


Birthday Boy EL Shaarawy gives Roma a Shocking lead at the San Paulo 

It would be El Shaarawy third goal of the season as he currently is Roma’s leading scorer in the league. El Shaarawy followed that up with a another chance minutes later he struck a ball from Deep before it was saved. El Shaarawy was the best player on the pitch throughout the match and it showed early in the game despite having not been the better team. After Roma scored they were faced with an onslaught of Napoli chances they were coming and coming. Robin Olsen’s denied Milik with a superb save then follow that up with a save on a Hamsik strike. Napoli attack coming forward was just relentless. Fortunately for Roma defensively they played extremely tough against a high pressing line Napoli team that is a threat to score almost on a constant basis. Milik came really close as he put his head through a Mario Rui cross. Chances were coming frequently Roma’s defensive performance and Robin Olsen’s safe hands where frustrating Napoli who were wasting some good chances. Callejon failed to hit a Target coming off another Napoli cross. Before hamsik had another shot of his saved by Robin Olson. It was just a Relentless attack forward. Roma’s defensive pressure was off putting forcing Napoli into some bad shots. Despite that fact you felt a Napoli goal was going to come sooner or later. Roin Olsen and the roma back line were unbelievable. Unfortunately a few minutes before half-time daniele de Rossi picked up a minor injury and was forced to come off as Brian crisante came on to replace them in the final moments as he gave his armband to Edin Dzeko. Its a shame he had to come off was doing a superb job in Midfield creating and picking out the passes for his teammates as well as making it difficult for the Napoli attack with great defenses pressure. Right before the break Dzeko nearly blew the game open. When he went around the keeper while in the box. Exposing the back of the net However he overthought it and didn’t  get it on his first strike he then turned and stuck a curler but Koulibaly made a sensational goal line clearance.  Despite Napoli’s incredible efforts Roma maintained their 1-0 Advantage after 45 minutes in the derby del sol.


EL Shaarawy Opening Goal holds as Roma found themselves up 1-0 At the San Paulo


It was an incredibly strong first half for Napoli but Roma found themselves ahead as they took advantage of the few opportunities they had. Roma should be happy with how they performed but still have some underlying issues. The most impressive thing they had done up to that point was in some way silencing Lorenzo Insigne who I thought was going to be a big problem. Early in the second half Bryan cristante Struck from distance. Despite that Napoli still seemed to be in firm control. However Napoli weren’t taking advantage of their chances. Allen and Marco Rui both misfired as Napoli continue to waste chances. Shortly after Napoli brought on Dries Mertens to give them another dimension when attacking what was a very tight Roma defense. It continue to be a high-functioning attack versus an incredibly strong defense. Romans attack was almost non-existent other than a few El Shaarawy runs that caused Naples to be careful but a lot of them came without help so he was mutually on an island every time he got forward. Within minutes of coming on Mertens made his presence known as he came close with his header that went wide. Alexandro Florenzi came on to replace Under who other than assist didn’t provide much on Roma’s behalf. Lorenzo Insigne minutes later saw it another strike misfire on what was a very uneventful day. Napoli continue to be in control but occasionally Roma would come forward and look dangerous. Lorenzo Pellegrini saw a shot from Deep saved. Just a few minutes later Manolas who was working really hard for the team was forced to come off with a minor injury. As Fazio came on to replace him It began to get later and later into the game and while Napoli looked incredibly dangerous coming forward it had looked like Roma were going to steal three points something they probably didn’t deserve. However it is very difficult to hold off the inevitable especially when a team like Napoli attacked in the way they did. At some point they were going to break through unfortunately it came at the death of the match. Substitute Dries Mertens beat robin Olsen to equalize with only minutes to spare in the 90th minute. As Napoli get the goal they truly deserved to steal a win from Roma at the Stroke Of Death. A heartbreaking finish for Roma but stealing a point from Napoli at the San Paulo is a positive result as a wasteful Napoli dropped two points in their own backyard.



Dries Mertens Breaks Roma hearts at the death



A Roma Victory is snatched out of their grasp late at the death by a Dries Mertens equalizer. The Stadio San Paolo saw a 1-1 draw in the derby Del Sol but it doesn’t quite tell the story. Both Roma and Napoli were coming off Champions League victories in midweek neither teams was as fresh and the fatigue reflected the match. Although Roma were minutes away from securing all three points it was not something that they deserved splits point was a fair results of the match. There were two sides Of this match there were negatives and positives to be taken from both sides. Napoli dominated much as this match  Napoli were aggressive going forward as they pressurized Roma’s goal almost on a consistent basis. The perception going into the game is that both teams would attack given the qualities in both sides. It was Napoli who went a full out attack while Roma was a little conservative and how they played the match. Another loss for Roma could have completely sabotage their season instead they split points with high flying Napoli. The Stadio San Paolo is a very difficult place to win games and Roma nearly accomplished that. Although it was heartbreaking at the end getting points at the stadio San Paolo is hugely positive in terms of what Roma needed out of this game. In need confidence and momentum to try to crawl their way back into the top four. In all honesty Napoli probably deserve to win the game but given the amount of chances that they wasted and how well Roma defended it was a Fair result. Napoli completely controlled the Possession especially early in the match because of this Roma needed to take advantage of the opportunity. When they had a chance they converted on it as El Shaarawy found the back of the net a day after his birthday. It was a very surprising lead for Roma as Napoli have gone for the throat in the opening moments of the match. However the draw points were earned in some respect. Napoli was pressurizing Roma’s goal for the entire match it was almost one-sided in terms of how they attacked. Roma did such an exceptional job containing the high flying high pressing attack that Napoli presents. DiFrancesco made some adjustments in the defense Roma’s backline defended to such an incredibly high level that it took the entire match for Napoli to breakthrough credit to DiFrancesco for making that move. You could feel the goal coming from Naples but Roma did everything in their power to hold them off as much as humanly possible. I thought Robin Olsen in particular showed his incredible quality in many moment keep Roma ahead and in this game. Under other circumstances Napoli could have ran away with it quite easily. It wasn’t just Olson though Romans entire back line work together cohesively as a unit. A lot of effort was shown from that Roma defense Kostas Manolas showed incredibly hard-working performances. He ended up coming off injured while Roma were ahead and that might have cost them slightly. Rome wew unlucky as well with daniele de Rossi having to come off before half-time. The defense was superb however Napoli didn’t help themselves with the amount of chances that they Wasted by their free-flowing attack. At some point in this match it became a battle between Robin Olson and Napoli’s attck. One of the League’s at best players failed to hit the mark on several occasions and Napoli was outclassed by Roma’s goalkeeper. . It was a tug-of-war a tough battle against two teams who would have liked a few more days to prepare. Roma’s attack didn’t really show all that much They had a few chances here and there but could not consistently attack Napoli in the way they wanted. That’s how aggressive Napoli’s attack was it prevented opportunities for Roma. Roma had a few other chances that sincerely could of put the game away despite the fact that it was probably not deserved. Roma just struggled to get anything going with their attack and even in their Midfield defensively they lost the ball on too many occasions. It made it a very nerving situation because it just looks like Roma was going to make a mistake that Napoli was going to make them pay for. Roma  have their moments when the attack was flowing they took advantage of it. under set up El Shaarawy with a brilliant assist. Which would have been the winning goal had Napoli not Struck from the death. El Shaarawy was Romans only really creative player going forward and was a nightmare to deal with for Napoli however a lot of the times he was isolated for when he had moves to operate He was dangerous El Shaarawy just prevented so much opportunity for Roma it wasn’t his fault that he had little to no help in the attack he had more help in the Roma attack Roma’s early could have won this game. However the Man of the Match goes to Robin Olsen who was playing out of his mind he reflecting and control were cat like such a special player he has been for Roma. Napoli will be hugely disappointed to have dropped these points while Roma under the circumstances in which they could have won will be satisfied while Napoli will be surly kicking themselves for all the chances they had. A heartbreaking ending but Roma I think will take this match and have a little bit more confidence going into the next few games Napoli is no joke and despite the circumstances they were able to steal a point from under their nose.


Man Of the Match: Robin Olson (3)


Next Match: vs Florentina, Wednesday November 7th, 2018


A.S Roma
Shots: 8
On Target: 4
Possession: 37%
Passes: 423
Pass Accuracy: 78%
Shots: 28
On Target: 5
Possession: 63%
Passes: 719
Pass Accuracy: 90%

Top of the table
1.Juventus 9-1-0 28pts
2.Napoli 7-1-2 22pts
3. Inter Milan 6-1-2 19pts
4. Lazio 6-0-3 18pts
5. Roma 4-3-3 15pts
Bottom of the table
16. Udinese 2-3-5 9pts
17. Bologna 2-3-5 9pts
18. Empoli 1-3-6 6pt
19.Frosinone 1-2-7 5pt
20.Chievo 0-2-8 -1pt

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