Roma traveled to Russia’s capital as they took on cska Moscow on a miserably cold Russian night. It turned out to be a match that was a lot more difficult for Roma then anticipated. Russia is not a great place to play a football match especially a Champions League match of that magnitude. The fans are rowdy passionate and in some cases violent there was even a smoke bomb lit off at the end of the match. Kostas Manolas recently had come off an injury but despite that in the games opening minutes he found the back of the net heading home a corner from Lorenzo Pellegrini to give a Roma 10 lead. The majority of the game especially in the first half was a little bit of a struggle for both teams as there were underlying issues to being highlighted. Cska Moscow made it a tough battle early into the second half cska Moscow got the equalizer temporarily silencing the Roma fans in Russia. It was a brief moment of momentum for the Russian side soon it would be obliterated. Within minutes of equalizing Moscow Hörður Björgvin Magnússon brought down Justin kluivert who was on an absolute tear of counter-attacks as he continued to terrorize them. He won the free-kick and Magnússon was given a second yellow card as he was sent off. Just a few minutes after momentum was back on Roma side as the Lorenzo Pellegrini found the back of the net to give Roma the 2-1 lead. Cska Moscow continue to try to search for another equalizer but it just didn’t happen as Roma put Moscow to the sword in what was a 2-1 victory for Roma putting them on the brink of qualification for the round of 16.
The Justin Kluivert Show
Justin kluivert arrived in Rome this summer as one of the many signings Roma have made in their rebuild. Justin is the son of former AC Milan and Barcelona Striker Patrick kluivert. The expectations coming into the season what quite High. He hasn’t quite lived up to expectations largely due to the fact of his lack of game time. With Roma struggling this season a lot of times they have gone with experience over youth. However last night he proved his absolute value Roma paid about 20 million for the 19 year old. He hasn’t delivered yet but he has had some convincing performances but no better than last night. He showed his quality was the absolute best player on the pitch. The game is about more than goals and assists. He may not have contributed to the score sheet but his impact on the game was undeniable. He supplied energy and a spark that we have not seen from this Roma team on a consistent basis. He used his a frightening speed and athleticism on the Russian defense. It wasn’t just the obvious impact he ended up winning many free-kicks for Roma last night putting them in position to score almost constantly. However the most effective thing he did was using his speed on the counter-attack. When Kluivert came forward he was absolutely ruthless he was running at 1000 miles per hour every time they came forward he was an absolute danger to the opposition not only that on his runs he was able to pick out smart intelligent passes to his teammates. It was a near-flawless performance from the young 19 year old. He is incredibly talented with so much ability. When he went forward there was very little that could slow him down the velocity of his speed on the attack was absolutely unbelievable. It was a near-perfect performance he was a danger on a regular basis and showed an unbelievable quality it truly was. It was the coming out party of Justin kluivert. Roma have a truly special player in a hostile territory in Russia he was up for the challenge he was unbothered by any of this putting together his best performance of the Season we need to see him start more games it might take a while to grasp but once he figures it out the sky is the limit.
Cska Moscow attacking mentality
I wasn’t surprised on the approach that cska Moscow went with. They found holes in the Roma defense and attacked them when they had the opportunity. This is a massively risk team who will take chances in order to try to break teams down offensively. It’s sometimes means it leaves them exposed defensively but that is just a type of team they are they don’t sit back and defend they go for the throat at every opportunity despite not having the Personnel to do so. Cska Moscow manager has instituted it into the team and more times than not it is successful. Last night cska Moscow we’re able to take something out of the Roma attack it wasn’t as fluid as it was last time defensively and in the attacking sense they got into good spaces with opportunities at times to win this game. It was a hostile crowd something that Roma is not used to but none the less I thought Moscow made this game a lot more difficult for Roma than they were expecting. The big issue I had with them last night wasn’t there attack it was the finishing touch that came on the end of their creation. Their chance creation to get into spaces and to get into dangerous areas I thought was really good. The problem became when they got in front of goal they froze up and were unable to deliver. Cska Moscow has mutually no chance of advancing through the group but I thought they did a heck of a job against Real Madrid and last night against Roma. They did such a good job that they even equalized even if it was only for a short period of time. They gave everything they fought until the very end and maybe on another day they could have got something from the game. The hostile crowd was very much in play and it played to their advantage but unfortunately they were just slightly overmatched even on a bad day they didn’t have enough to go Toe to Toe with Roma but a very impressive showing none the less.
Edin Dzeko struggles
Going into the game Dzeko was the Champions League top scorer with five goals from three games. The last time he went up against cska Moscow he was at the reigning Champions League player of the week with two goals and one assist in that match. Many thought Edin Dzeko would keep his hot form going but unfortunately cska Moscow had a fire extinguisher. Edin Dzeko wasn’t himself he was a very poor showing from one of Europe’s most consistent Strikers. In 2018 in the Champions League the Bosnian has scored 10 goals one of the highest in the world over that time. Last night he was not effective in any way he did all right in a few areas in terms of passing but overall he just wasn’t himself. There were times where he could have quite easily scored but made inadvertently poor decisions with the ball. It was frustrating to watch because we know how talented and skilled Edin Dzeko is. For Roma he’s been one of their most consistent Strikers of all time being a 9th on Roma’s all time scoring list with 80 goals. However he has been in a little bit of a slump as of late he only has two goals in the league which is severely low for some of his quality his Champions League success has overshadowed the lack of goals he has scored in Italian football this season. However after last night’s performance he needs to find his form again this team is so co-dependent on Edin Dzeko for goals and last night at times he just made bad decisions in crucial moments that’s something that cannot occur on a regular basis. Edin Dzeko is on form Roma can hang with anyone but it matches when he does not perform to its standard others have to rise to the occasion luckily Lorenzo Pellegrini took on that role but Point Blank Edin Dzeko needs some more consistency because we know how special of a player he is.
Red card changed momentum
Going into the second half Roma had a narrow 1-0 lead in Russia. Cska Moscow were never out of this game but early in the second half they turned the game on its head. By the surprise of many cska Moscow equalized and for a brief moment it has sucked some of the confidence and momentum out of Roma. Although Roma looked good for the majority of the game it wasn’t always clear after the equalizer. Cska Moscow couldn’t hold them because they did a sensational job of doing it early in the game. However one moment changed everything for cska Moscow they had silence Roma at least temporarily the Arena exploded with excitement however it was Flatlined just a minutes later on a Counterattack Justin kluivert was sprinting a through Midfield in to cska Moscow danger area. He was brought to the ground by Magnússon. He had already previously been booked and was shown a second yellow card as Moscow all of a sudden was down to 10 men. In fairness to him he didn’t really have a choice in the matter so you could say it was an unfortunate event in this match. If he doesn’t make that tackle Justin kluivert is through on goal in a one-on-one he’s fast and athletic it would have been a goal. After the sending-off Roma didn’t waste any time as they took their advantage as soon as I had the opportunity. Lorenzo Pellegrini scored the go-ahead goal that ended up being the winner just minutes after the red card occurred. I’m not saying that cska Moscow we’re going to win the game but they had an opportunity to hold them. In all honesty Roma was always going to get that goal but had the red card occurred the game could have changed massively the momentum immediately shifted after the red card sent cska Moscow down to 10 men. The momentum was in the favor of the Russians up until that moment if that doesn’t happen who knows what could have happened for the rest of the match. You can’t fault the player but it was an unfortunate moment for a team that had just equalized.
Round Of 16
Roma are on the verge qualifying for the Champions League round of 16 for the second consecutive year. An amazing achievement for a team who is not typically been recognized as a threat in a Europeans most important competition. Also after last night’s win it was their third consecutive Champions League victory the first time that has occurred in a decade. DiFrancesco has been under fire at many points this season however this could not have occurred without him. Before he arrived it had been a decade since Roma made the champions league quarter-finals in almost 30 years since they had made it the semis. Not Fabio Capello for Luciano Spaletti achieved that. DiFrancesco getting out of the group of death winning the group and took this team all the way to the semi-finals despite losing every the away match of during the knockout stage. He was able to get results in important moments and let’s not forget the historical Barcelona masterpiece that he put together it was orchestrated by the man on the bench. Domestically in the League Roma have struggled there’s no other way to put it it’s going to be a challenge to maintain consistency but there is no man better positioned to take this team forward especially in Europe. Roma are level on points with Real Madrid it is not impossible that Roma wins the groups. Roma have lost several key players since last season but believe it or not this Roma team is capable of a another Deep Run. Just one result away for qualifying for the round of 16 and that’s when there’s competition becomes serious and I know Roma will be ready for it. We have seen many players starting to thrive under DeFrancesco he will be prepared what lies ahead. As long as this team stays together a Deep Run is likely it is not a done deal that Real Madrid wins this group Roma are just as capable of winning their Champions League group for the second consecutive season. In Europe This Roma team is just different and they will be prepared for what lies ahead.