Roma was coming off a dramatic and exciting 3-3 draw with Genna to kick off the season. As it set them up for one of the most dramatic and important matches of the entire season. The Roman Derby between Roma and Lazio one of the biggest derbies in football & not only in Italy but in all of Europe. In fact and argument can be made that it is the most important Derby in European football given what the result of this match means for both teams. Roma and Lazio aren’t really fighting for titles and haven’t been for a long time. Sometimes the meaning of the Season isn’t to win the title it’s to win the Derby or at the very least finish ahead of them. Last night was a classic Derby to have this game so early in the season was quite rare. This match doesn’t typically occur until midseason but none the less there was a lot of drama and Misfortune when these two teams went to battle at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. We saw intensity physicality excitement and a lot of misfortune. Lazio for a large portion of the match looked like the better team. Maybe not dramatically in control but had a slight advantage of Roma. Nonetheless, it was actually Roma who pulled their heads in front early. As they were giving a penalty in the opening 20 minutes of the game. Alex Kolarov stepped up drilling the ball into the back of the net to give Roma the 1-0 lead. They managed to hold on to the lead going into halftime however Roma and Lazio hit the crossbar several times in the first half so it could have looked dramatically different. In the second half, it continued to be a battle Roma did everything they could to prevent the inevitable as Lazio still looked like they were in control. Eventually, they broke the deadlock through Luis Alberto to equalize making 1-1. Lazio hit the crossbar two more times in the second half & Roma had their moments as well even though Lazio were the better team they look dangerous on the counter-attack yet again. Ultimately both teams looked for a winner but none couldn’t find it as points are spared in the Roman Derby as we head for the international break after a very dramatic opening two games of the season.
The Misfortune of the crossbar quite honestly was one of the most insane things I have seen in the derby in recent memory. This game could have been an absolute goal-fest instead just two goals in 90 minutes when we could have had 6. It was truly Misfortune for both teams. Now just because they hit the crossbar six different occasions that does not necessarily mean every time it should have ended in a goal. But nonetheless to hit the bar so many times in one match of football is absolutely incredible. The crossbar can be a positive thing and a negative as we saw last night. Roma has to feel at least a little bit relieved because of it meanwhile Lazio has to be enraged by the number of times they hit it. The incredibly frustrating result largely attributed to the number of times both these teams hit the bar. On another day at least some of those goals may find the back of the net. To see it so many shots hit the bar last night I’m not sure we’ve ever seen anything like this before and it is unlikely we will see anything like it again. The bar by itself took away a momentous amount of goals. More shots hit the crossbar then found the back of the net that tells you everything you need to know about the craziness of the derby on Sunday.
Not an Ideal Start but No need to Panic
Roma may have not started off the season the way they would have liked. Two points out of a possible 6 isn’t great but nonetheless, there’s no need to panic given the situation. Roma was handed a very tough opening two fixtures. Genoa is a team that drastically improved this season. This team will not be in a relegation battle at all they have too much quality within the squad. In actuality, Roma should have won that opening game without question but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that Genoa was a challenge. They went from Genoa to the derby which is an incredibly difficult transition. The Derby is one of the most challenging and difficult matches of the entire season and both these clubs had to deal with it in week 2. That is a lot of pressure to put on a club so early in the season. The good news is Roma can rebound tremendously quickly. In the league following the end of the international break, they play Sassuolo, bologna, Atalanta, Lecce, and Cagliari. They Could win all of those games don’t get me wrong some of these games will be very difficult and some of the matches will come in a short week with a Europa League starting up following the break. They can get right back on track. They struggled defensively they have time to figure this out and put together some moves before the end of the transfer window. We will see a more refined team when they come out of the break this team is going to start winning some games because their attack is too strong and too vicious not to start winning matches. This wasn’t an ideal start to the season with only two points so far but I don’t think there’s any real reason to panic because as long as this team continues to improve and progress they will start winning games quite easily. It was a very tough challenge to start the season but next month should be quite easy to pick up maximum points.
Lazio’s Wasted Chances
Lazio has to feel unfortunate with the number of times they hit the crossbar yesterday. While that very well could have been the difference between them winning the match and getting a draw it isn’t just dumb luck. Lazio didn’t dominate the game because I think that’s a little unfair to say but they would be a better team and had control for the majority of the match. They can complain all they want about the crossbar But ultimately they have to take some blame here. They had twice as many chances to score and still only scored one. I get that they hit the crossbar a lot but some of those changes we’re truly avoidable. Immobile strike on the break there is no excuse for him not putting that into the back of the net he had space and time to execute. That was not dumb luck that particular play is 100% his fault. They could have scored a lot of goals last night they didn’t because they wasted too many chances. When it comes down to it that is going to be a huge problem for them if they do not address it immediately. You can say what you want about the crossbar they could have scored in multiple different ways yesterday but they wasted too many good chances. A lot of the second half. A lot of the second half they had complete control and still couldn’t take advantage of a Roma defense that still needs Improvement. There was a bit of Misfortune yesterday but that doesn’t excuse them for wasting chances on what seemed like a regular basis. They probably should have won this game but you can’t blame the crossbar purely for there inability to do so hitting the crossbar didn’t help but that’s not the difference because some of it is avoidable. They could have scored they had so many chances to do so and they just failed to convert they got what they deserved if you can’t take advantage of chances you don’t deserve to win.
The Derby intensity was at an all-time high it was perfect for the occasion. We saw incredibly physical play great Passion from both sets of fans and a lot of drama. This is what the Derbies are all about and we saw all of that and more yesterday. Not only in terms of the fan support Sunday afternoon but what we saw on the field. It was very clear from the way this game was played these teams do not like each other in the very least. I saw so many cheap shots and outlandish and cruel tackles. We even had several occasions in which a red card could have been shown. It was a bloodbath with the number of tackles that wore being stunned on each other. Alessandro Florenzi was crushed in the knee no question in my mind should have been a red card. It was a cheap shot with the studs of the cleats up directly at his knee hit with high velocity. Not only should it have been a red card it should have been a multiple game ban but wasn’t even given a yellow. It is very difficult to try to officiate a game like that given the hatred that exists between the fans and the players. If he stops the game every time there’s a cheap shot it would take 5 hours to complete he had to let some things go. However, watching this game it was a clear that these teams don’t like each other they were trying to rip each other’s heads off that’s how physical this game was. It was a relatively small amount of bookings but the referee quite easily could have booked another six or seven players. It was violent an extremely physical and aggressive just what you like to see in a derby. The fans, for the most part, they behaved themselves there was no stabbings or violence of any kind really and that’s the important thing as much as we hate each other we don’t want to see any significant violence based on what we saw on the field that truly is the only positive that can be taken based on how physical and dirty the play was. That’s just what you get when these two teams face-off that is the derby intensity that we lost it is what makes this football match so important.
In the opening game of the season, Roma new goalkeeper Paul Lopez didn’t really get to display what he is capable of doing. A large part of that was due to the amount of the sense of mistakes made by the Roma defense. Against Genoa, Paul Lopez couldn’t really stand out it was impossible to do so because of how difficult the defense made his job. Paul Lopez is the most expensive goalkeeper in Roma’s history. They forked out 23.5 million to Real Betis for the Spanish goalkeeper. Yesterday in the Derby we saw the type of quality he certainly has. He was one of the outstanding performers in the game last night. Making some really big saves in some crucial moments when the game was tied. You can see it very early in this match that he is definitely an upgrade from Robin Olsen. His communication with the defense is better and he made some really intelligent plays was his feet during the game rather than just blasting it up. It’s only been one game but yesterday we could truly see the impact he can have in that position. It is still early only two games into the season but so far you have to feel positive of what we saw from him last night. He is a young goalkeeper and will only continue to develop in this city and with this team. He has incredible potential to develop into something truly special. Some of the saves he made last night came in big moments and that’s exactly why they pushed so hard to sign him.