Score: A.S Roma 3 Atalanta 3FT
Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, Bergamo
Following Roma’s continued win streak Roma headed out on the road To face Atalanta for the second time this season. In the first meeting Roma found themselves 3-1 down before a miraculously come back to earn a point. Both Roma and Atalanta coming into the game were in incredible form. The thriving youngsters at Roma against the highest scoring team in the league with the single most dangerous player in football at the moment. There was so much on the line for both teams. A win for Roma would take them into the top four with an opportunity to create a little bit of separation. While Atalanta has a Champions League ambitions of their own a result for them at home could redirect themselves into the Champions League race. It was truly a game of two halves from complete control to utter disaster. In the opening moments of the game Edin Dzeko scored his first goal since October to give Roma the 1-0 lead early. He would double it with another brace a little later as Roma stretched out the lead even more when Stephan El Shaarawy found the back of the net as well All of a sudden Roma had a 3-0 lead. Atalanta got one back right before halftime. However Roma still had a multiple goal lead and had more than enough talent to keep it. Despite that the world would crash down much like a did for Atalanta last time these teams played. Tolio shortened the deficit even more early in the second half. Then late with about 20 minutes ago Duvan Zapata after having recently just missed a penalty converted equalize in what was a complete mental breakdown by Roma. A disgrace and a truly embarrassing performance throwing away an excellent second half has a Roma lives their Horrors and a huge breakdown. DiFrancesco must take some of the blame for his inability to change personnel early on in the second half the defensive deficiencies continue as Revenge is granted has Atalanta steal points in a match that feels more like a loss than a draw Inconsistencies arise after consecutive games with victories.
Some minor shake-up in this Roma team prior to a much important match. Roma operates out of their typical 4-2-3-1 formation. In goal between the sticks would be Roma Swedish Fish Robin Olsen. In Roma’s backline we would see just one change. At left-back would be Alex Kolarov beside him would be the centre-back partnership of Ivan Marcano and Kostas Manolas with Federico Fazio dropping to the bench. Then at right back starting for the third consecutive game would be Rick karsdorp. In Roma’s defensive Midfield we would see The Return of Roma’s starting pair Steven nzonzi and Bryan Cristante with Nzonzi returning from his broken toe. In Roma’s attacking a Midfield Trio would be in the central position returning to his preferred spots would be Lorenzo Pellegrini. This move would push Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo on the right wing coming in for the injured Cengiz Under. Then on the right wing would be the hero from a week ago Stephan El Shaarawy. Then up front as the main Striker would be the struggling Edin Dzeko. A strong lineup with good depth on the bench with Justin kluivert and Patrik Schick ready if called upon.
After preparation and predictions we would just about to kick off in Atalanta. A match between two teams in tremendous form that included the young talented Romans and the hottest striker in the league Duvan Zapata. One of the most anticipated matches in the league was about to get underway on a Sunday afternoon. Before you could blink an eye the visitors struck gold on the first shot of the game. While trying to create Alex Kolarov hit a deep cross from the wing. Nicolo Zaniolo got put his head through the ball setting up a one-on-one for Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian Striker tucked the ball into the bottom corner to give Roma a very early lead. It would be Edin Dzeko’s first goal since October as the Bosnian scores his 81st goal for Roma moving him to 8th on the all-time scoring list. Excellence in communication led to their ability to convert on the goal. Despite the early goal Atalanta was ready and willing for the challenge. In the majority of games that Roma play they control possession and come across as slightly superior to their opponents. In this game Atalanta had control of possession by a vast majority. It wasn’t really clear who was superior but Atlanta put themselves in position to have opportunities due to their control. A few minutes after Roma’s opening goal Atalanta came close as Papu Gomez sent a through ball into Josip Ilicic he struck the ball but his shot missed. Roma hit right back with Stephan El Shaarawy who stuck from Deep. Atalanta did have possession Advantage but Roma seemed like the opportunistic team in the beginning of the first half. Edin Dzeko came very close to a second as he struck the ball from close range the goalkeeper was able to deal. Just passed the 20th minute mark the most dangerous man in Italy Duvan Zapata aggressively put his head through the ball but Robin Olson made the save. It seemed relatively even. With both teams proving their value the first half was a little low on chances but the intensity was at its peak. Duvan Zapata came close again once again by way of the header as he put his head at through a Papu Gomez cross coming very close just missing. You can see that Atalanta was very much in the game and up for it. The game may not have swayed in Roma’s favor buts the Romans took advantage of another opportunity. in the 33rd minute Steven nzonzi threaded a near perfect through-ball into Edin Dzeko. the Bosnian used his pace to get into the box before making a cut move in front of the goalkeeper before putting it in the back of the net to give Roma the 2-0 lead. Just a few minutes later Roma looks to be in again as Nicolo Zaniolo hit a powerful strike from the side of the box but was denied from the keeper. With only minutes remaining in the first half it was Roma again. In the 40th minute Nicolo Zaniolo put together a superb pass allowing the fast and quick Stephan El Shaarawy to get on the break. He made some cut moves before smashing it into the back of the net to give a Roma the 3-0 lead. A near-perfect 45 minutes for Roma. Unfortunately Atalanta got back in the game just four minutes later Timothy Casetage beat Robin Olsen putting his head through a Papu Gomez cross to get one back as time expired in the first half with Roma having the 3-1 advantage.
Roma were flying in the opening 45 Minutes with goals from Edin Dzeko and Stephen El Shaarawy
It was a near-perfect first half of football for Roma but slightly unfair to be three goals up against an Atalanta team that truly was giving their best. However the second half was a completely different game and a completely different team. Atalanta dominated the second half in fact Roma struggled to get the ball past half field as Atalanta was in cruise control a huge possession advantage. Less than 10 minutes into the second half the collapse was unraveling. At least 59th minutes Raphael Toloi connected on a Gomez cross as his header found the back of the net to make it 3-2. An embarrassing and humiliating come back was on its way. Just a few minutes later Roma made their first change of the game as Justin kluivert came in to replace Stephan El Shaarawy. Roma really didn’t seem to have a sniff at any point in the second half Atlanta what bullying them as they supplied complete control. Roma made another change as Alexandro Florenzi was brought in for Lorenzo Pellegrini. Josip Ilicic was later given a penalty after bring brought down buy Kolarov. The VAR review the play and a penalty was given with the opportunity to equalize for Atalanta. Duvan Zapata the most in form player in Serie A stepped-up and to my surprise he failed miserably a horrible penalty allowed Roma to maintain the lead. However he would get his Redemption after a horrible miss. In the 71st minutes on a counter attack Duvan Zapata had his moment drilling the ball into the bottom corner to take his Atlanta side from 3-0 down to 3-3 with just 20 minutes to go. Roma really didn’t show up in the second half as Atalanta completely pulverize them not allowing them to do anything. Marten De Roon came close to giving Atalanta the lead narrowly missing. Just a few minutes after that Harbor put his head through a Timothy Castagne cross but again misfire. If this match was going to change it was never going to be in Romans favor they completely humiliated themselves with such a spineless performance in the second half. Federico Fazio came in for Rick Karsdorp but it was a little too late to turn it around. With five minutes to go Papu Gomez saw his shot saved by Robin Olson who saved Roma from even more humiliation. As the incredible comeback by Atalanta and the embarrassing choke job by Roma concluded. A speechless performance with an opportunity get into the Champions League place they completely folded looking like a complete mental breakdown and tactical Mistakes by DiFrancesco. This is not what Roman needed as they now an incredibly tough match against AC Milan next weekend Roma ideally wanted to go into that match with some momentum Roma showed some promise in the first half but it all counts for nothing as they threw away a game that they should have won truly an embarrassing performance.
Roma players thanks the Away support despite the horrible breakdown
In what could be only described as a complete and utter disaster. Embarrassing disgraceful a complete mental breakdown. However surprising is a word that I would not use. This Roma team has been so inconsistent this season and as the days and weeks go by what they are begins to change. I still fully believe this team can finish fourth this season but they’re inconsistencies suggest that maybe that’s not possible. It was a game of two halves the Roma team that we saw in the first half versus the second half are completely different. Atalanta deserves a lot of credit for their incredible comeback especially after a missed penalty. However that does not take away from how horrible Roma were in that second half. In the first half Roma took advantage of their chances they were very opportunistic. The Romans buried practically every legitimate chance in that first half which is the big reason why they started so hot. Despite being dominated in possession and Atalanta having more chances Roma took advantage in the first half something they were not able to do in the second. Edin Dzeko scored his first goal since October and then added another would you put him 8th on Roma’s all time scoring list. El Shaarawy added another in what was a very strong first half. From the way the team was set up to how they executed everything seemed to work in that first half. In the second half it was a complete mental breakdown and collapse. Roma had a very limited opportunities in that second half they barely were able to cross the halfway line. It was Atlanta’s high-flying attack that dictated the results in the second half. They converted on several occasions due to some shaky defense. Roma defense is in such dire shape that Robin Olson is having to deal with things he shouldn’t have to. DiFrancesco made and unusual change bringing in Ivan Marcano into the starting lineup as well as Rick karsdorp. This was a tactic to try to slow down the attack. They are fast and quick players and they were a big part of the success they had in the first 45 minutes but they are also the reason they broke down in the second half. There’s not much positive that you can take the second half was as miserable as it can be. You cannot allow a three-goal lead to disappear. Roma had the opportunity of Champions League football with a win a when they had in their back pocket. It’s not all on the players though DiFrancesco waited far too long to make adjustments and it cost his team. Situationally his tactics were poor. It just was a complete embarrassment of a performance. Despite all the negativity that is clear as day there was some positivity in that first half. I thought Edin Dzeko was especially efficient in front of goal scoring and his two chances. Also Nicolo Zaniolo displayed excellent his vison allowed his teammates to get into a good position. In that first half they were incredibly strong. The man of the match for Roma is without doubt Edin Dzeko he has gotten running again with two goals in this match the results was pitiful but his performance cannot be associated with that word he played incredibly well despite the team collectively struggling especially in the second half. This performance overall has left me speechless a lead like that should never evaporate. Roma have a lot of work to do they this team needs a big response on Wednesday night in the Copa Italia quarter finals they need something to reignite how well they have been playing prior to this speechless performance with AC Milan coming up this is not what this team needed.
Man Of The Match: Edin Dzeko (4)
BY THE NUMBERS
On Target: 5
Pass Accuracy: 75%
On Target: 5
Pass Accuracy: 89%
Top of the table
1.Juventus 18-2-0 56pts
2.Napoli 12-3-3 45pts
3. Inter 12-4-5 40pts
4. Milan 9-8-4 35pts
5. A.S Roma 9-7-5 34pts
Bottom of the table
16. Udinesse 4-6-11 18pts
17. Empoli 4-5-11 17pts
18. Bologna 2-8-11 14pts
19.Frosinone 2-7-11 13pt
20.Chievo 1-8-12 8pts