Zaniolo Steals the show as Roma split with Milan at the Olimpico #463

Score: A.S Roma 1 A.C Milan 1FT

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-Stadio Olimpico, Rome  

Following a collapse in Bergamo and a 7-1 annihilation in the Copa Italia quarterfinals to Florentina. Roma prepares for a huge test as Eusebio di Francesco has more pressure then he has had this season. As AC Milan comes into town to face Roma at the Stadio Olimpico for their second meeting of the season. During the first meeting between these two Italian football heavyweights, it was a back-and-forth battle but a stoppage-time strike at the death saw AC Milan hold on to an important win. Roma and AC Milan were only separated by a few points with the possibility and the opportunity the leapfrog Milan sliding in at 2. Fourth spot. With Inter Milan’s earlier loss Roma could get within three points off 3rd place. Roma was the much superior team in the first half but AC Milan’s new signing Piatek gave Milan the first-half lead as pressure only continue to mount on DiFrancesco. In the second half, Roma found a way back as their teen sensation Nicolo Zaniolo leveled the scores. Roma proved to be a much better team and came very close to securing the three points. Roma was coming off two terrible performances and the team responded with a great performance despite failing to secure all three points a point is spared at the Olimpico. It proved to be a good result for Roma as they protect the Stadio Olimpico with a performance that takes some pressure off Eusebio di Francesco at least temporarily. A performance that Roma truly needed a point against Milan will give them confidence after a positive result.

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It would be a major Mix-Ups in the Roma’s team for Eusebio Di Francesco side. With his job on the line, Roma’s boss made several adjustments in hopes of getting a decent result. Roma remained in their 4-3-2-1 formation ahead of this much important match. In goal would be Roma’s Swedish Fish, Robin Olsen. In Roma’s back line at left-back would be the heavily criticized Alex Kolarov. Beside him would be the center-back partnership of Federico Fazio and Kostas Manolas then returning to the lineup at right-back would be Rick Karsdorp. We would see the return of Roma Captain Daniele de Rossi in Roma’s defensive Midfield playing alongside the incredibly effective Roma born midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini from back into a more defensive position. In the Romans attacking Midfield, it would be Roma teen sensation Nicolo Zaniolo in the central midfield. On the right wing would be Alexandra Florenzi who would be pushed up from his typical right back position. Then on the left and unusual decision would be Patrik Schick playing on the left-wing as DiFrancesco attempt in playing him and Dzeko together. Then up front as Roma’s main striker would it be Edin Dzeko. Then as always a decent bench with the likes of Justin Kluivert Stephan El Shaarawy and Bryan Cristante.

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After preparations and predictions, the Serie A match of the weeks between two Italian football heavyweights AC Milan and Roma was just about to get underway at the Stadio Olimpico on a cold and rainy night in Rome. With a possibility displacing AC Milan in fourth place Roma played a very physical game in the opening minutes as it showed early. Roma tried to reiterate themselves in the game as Alexandro Florenzi gave Rome an early chance with a deep strike coming off a corner but missed from distance. Milan tries to respond several minutes later as a Suso’s strike missed high. Honestly, it took a while for the game to open up it was very possession-based trying to put together a strategic strategy to break each other down. Neither team was in control but in the early parts of the first half Roma seemed to have a slight superiority. Edin Dzeko struck a ball on the side of the box in a good area to bring the game to life. He ended up being denied by Donnarumma but had a clean look on goal. Shortly after Nicolo Zaniolo saw his shot from distance go a little too high. Roma up to that point looked like the better team as they did for much of the game but the thing about football is all you need is one opportunity and in 26th minutes AC Milan took advantage of the opportunity. Just outside the Roma box Lucas Paqueta hit a low cross into the box as new signing Piatek put his foot through the cross and he found in the back of the net scoring his first Serie A goal for his new team to give Milan the 1-0 lead.

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Piatek scores his first Serie A goal for Milan to give Roma the lead

 

It was a lead that Milan may not have deserved it was legitimately their only chance in the game up to that point. Roma hit back with several chances within minutes of the opening goal. Nicolo Zaniolo sent a headed pass to Kostas Manolas who narrowly missed. Roma had a string of corners as they continued to apply pressure on the AC Milan goal. Nicolo Zaniolo drilled a shot from close range into the bottom corner but Donnarumma made the save to prevent the equalizer. A well-timed powerful strike from the 19-year-old. Less than a minute later Alessandro Florenzi can close for Roma again however his strike was dealt with by Donnarumma. Roma continued to be the better team in the first half as they continued to put together chances late. Nicolo Zaniolo hit a strike from deep that came incredibly close. That was followed by Patrik Schick seeing his shot saved Edin Dzeko tried the score on the rebound but Donnarumma put himself in excellent position preventing the would-be goal That would signal the end of the first half with Roma in control but thanks to Piatek AC Milan led at the half.

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Despite being down on the scoreboard Roma played an excellent first-half statistically it wasn’t close they dominated. Roma came out of the second half and converted immediately. In the 46th minute right after kickoff collectively as a team, Roma orchestrated the opportunity. Roma spread the ball out passing between each other before Federico Fazio took a few dribbles before displaying pinpoint vision and accuracy on a very well tick cross to Rick Karsdorp who was running up the flank. The Dutch Defender controlled the ball before sending it into the box and in what appeared to be some defensive of miscommunication Roma’s nineteen-year-old star Nicolo Zaniolo in traffic smashed the ball into the back of the net to equalize. The youngster ran towards the Roma supporters displaying honest unfiltered passion and excitement showing his ability to play for the team. With the goal, he became the youngest Roma player since Francesco Totti to score three goals in a campaign.

 

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Nicolo Zaniolo continues to show brilliance as he equalizes for Roma.

A little while later it looked like Milan were going to get a chance to retake the lead. When an alleged penalty call was dismissed against Roma. I concur it was without question a penalty although it would have been harsh on Roma who had been at the much better team. As the game went on Milan got back into the game slightly but Robin Olson denied Suso and Lucas Paqueta of opportunities making the necessary saves. Roma would make their first change of the game as a Stephan El Shaarawy replaced Alexandra Florenzi. The former AC Milan Winger got an opportunity to get the better of his former Club. The match continues to progress as Roma still had control of it. At this point, a draw would be viewed as slightly disappointing. With about 20 minutes to go Edin Dzeko saw his header saved from very close range. Moments later Kostas Manolas fired away a shot to end the moment. Roma seemed to just keep coming as it looked like Roma we’re going to have a good chance to win the game. Edin Dzeko put his head through an Alex Kolarov cross but missed. Roma then decided to go to their bench to try to give themselves another dimension. However prior to that Roma nearly won it. While coming forward Kolarov delivered a cross from just outside the box. Lorenzo Pellegrini put his head through the ball Hitting the crossbar in the process it looks like it was going to be the winning goal. Justin Kluivert came in for Patrik Schick who worked really hard for the team today his work-rate was exceptional. Following the substitution, El Shaarawy had a moment of unbelievable brilliance. Coming off a pass from Nicolo Zaniolo the former AC Milan star started an exceptional counter attack El Shaarawy used his incredible speed and pace to cut through the entire pitch running nearly the length of the entire pitch as he attempted to cut into the box. The AC Milan defense closed down causing a misfired shot. Despite that El Shaarawy’s run was absolutely unbelievable. Roma made their final change of the evening bringing in Davie Santon for Rick Karsdorp another player who shown to be really dangerous tonight. In the closing moments of the game Robin Olsen made a key save down the stretch as he denied Patrick Cutrone the winning goal making an excellent save with just minutes to spare. Roma would hold on to earn a very important point as AC Milan are dominated at the Stadio Olimpico.

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In the biggest match of the season, Roma delivered a performance that would make us all forget about what occurred last week. After coughing up a three-goal lead and getting annihilated in a Coppa Italia there was never more pressure on Roma then there was this afternoon. Despite trailing in the first half Roma was in complete and utter control for much of the contest. It was an incredibly hard-fought point as Roma managed to split the difference at the Stadio Olimpico against a very strong AC Milan team. Milan managed to take the first half lead through Piatek. Even though AC Milan we’re in front Roma seemed to be the better team throughout the 90 minutes. It was such an important game not only for the job security of DiFrancesco but Roma’s status in the table. Roma was just outside the cusp of Champions League football a win would have taken them ahead of AC Milan but this race for that desirable fourth spot will remain incredibly tight. They managed to create a little more separations from 5th Place Lazio who are not far behind even though they failed to jump ahead of Milan in the table. After coming off of two a miserable performances Roma actually could be slightly disappointed and failing to secure the three points. Roma dominated the run a play almost immediately scoring in the second half. Roma’s talented youngster Nicolo Zaniolo equalized making even more history in such a young career. Becoming the youngest player to score three Serie A goals for Roma since Francesco Totti. I said this for weeks now he is a younger version of Totti and has displayed some unbelievable quality this season. In the second half, he took advantage of his opportunity and gave Roma a spark plug. Roma came very close on several occasions in the second half as they were the much better team throughout the match especially in the second half Roma quite easily could have won this game if it was not for some of the brilliance from Donnarumma. Even after the game Gennardo Gattuso AC Milan’s manager admitted that Roma was the much better side and perhaps deserve more points. Roma needed some kind of response after the last two games and they certainly got it tonight. Roma unable to capture the three points but they displayed a performance that should give the team confidence and momentum. This results also takes a little pressure off DiFrancesco who seem to be 45 minutes away from losing his job when AC Milan found the back of the net. Even Defensively Roma played really well in the second half which is quite easily their weakest component of their team. It was an all-around strong performance from Roma they always seem to turn it up in the big games. Roma is incredibly inconsistent but this should give the team an injection of positivity. Today’s man-of-the-match was Nicolo Zaniolo getting the important equalizing goal and proving once again that he is one of the best players in this league already he is certainly a superstar in the making if he isn’t one already. This was a performance that expresses signs of encouragement.

 

Man of the Match: Nicolo Zaniolo (1)

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BY THE NUMBERS
A.S Roma
Shots: 17
On Target: 7
Possession: 45%
Passes: 384
Pass Accuracy: 80%
Milan
Shots: 8
On Target: 1
Possession: 55%
Passes: 524
Pass Accuracy: 87%

Top of the table
1.Juventus 18-3-0 57pts
2.Napoli 13-3-3 48pts
3. Inter 12-4-6 40pts
4. Milan 9-9-4 36pts
5. A.S Roma 9-8-5 35pts

Bottom of the table
16. Udinesse 4-7-11 19pts
17. Empoli 4-6-11 18pts
18. Bologna 3-8-11 17pts
19.Frosinone 2-8-11 14pt
20.Chievo 1-9-13 8pts

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