Roma kicked off the Europa League campaign last night with a big win in the group opener. Roma was coming off their first victory of the season at home against Sassuolo this past weekend. They stayed home hosting Istanbul at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. It’s may not have been the European competition Roma wanted to be in but nonetheless, it was another European night in the capital city. Things didn’t start the way Roma might have wanted it to. Roma struggled in the first half with very little input in terms of creativity and chance creation. However, at the end of the first half, Istanbul put a goal in the back of their own net to give Roma 1-0 lead after 45 minutes. In the second half, Roma looked like a different team as they showed their offensive explosiveness that we have seen them from many points this season. Nicolo Zaniolo was the star in the night as he supplied some brilliant display of dribbling and execution just find Edin Dzeko who scored his 90th goal for Roma giving Roma the 2-0 lead. A little later Nicolo Zaniolo added scoring a brace to give the Roma 3-0 lead. Then in the closing moments, it was Nicolo Zaniolo again who supplied a ball in perfect space for Justin kluivert who scored making it 4-0 victory for Roma. Roma could not have started this Europa League campaign much better despite early struggles Roma got it together and showed everyone in this group and in this competition that they’re going to be a problem.
Nicolo Zaniolo is special
Nicolo Zaniolo has turned out to be some star for this Roma team. By now everyone knows the story he came in last year in a swap deal with Radja Nainggolan and turned out to be one of the best signings Roma has made in recent years. He extended his contract this summer and has been a revelation so far this season. On another big stage on a European knight yesterday he showed incredible quality and intelligence. He was simply put magical last night it quite honestly could have been his best performance in the Roma shirt. After a slow first half, Nicolo Zaniolo orchestrated the offensive explosion we saw in the second half of last night’s game. Roma scored three goals in the second half after hardly creating anything during the first 45 minutes. It truly was on unreal display from the young Italian. Zaniolo on the first goal showed unbelievable progress and development displaying a world-class sequence of ability. As he took the ball into Istanbul’s danger area cutting through the defense into the box placing the ball in for himself on the touchline before delivering the perfectly timed assist for Edin Dzeko. It was a really special performance he was absolutely electric. He later scored a great goal and supplied another assist in the closing moments to Justin kluivert. Without question one of the most impressive performers in European football this week. This Roma team is capable of going extremely far in this competition perhaps even winning it. If Roma gets this type of input from Nicolo Zaniolo with already strong parts around him this team has a serious shot at winning a trophy for the first time in a decade. It truly was a magical display if he can maintain this type of consistency he will prove again & again that he is one of the best youngsters in all of Europe he is one of the players that this club is building around and rightfully so after that performance everyone’s can understand that Roma truly robbed the bank last season. He has the potential no moment is too big for him regardless of the situation he is capable of rising to that occasion and last night was further proof of that.
Istanbul Forgettable performance
Istanbul has to feel regrettable about their performance. The Turkish side couldn’t create much of anything they struggled to even find the target when they’ were coming forward. Against a defense like Roma that is such a liability, they should have at least found some gaps inside of it to execute. Even when they came forward they never were threatening and when they had chances they struggled to convert. I thought its they were going to be the biggest threat to Roma winning the group I’m not saying that I’m wrong yet but after that display, it certainly hasn’t been encouraging performance to base it off of. Istanbul has players within the squad that are capable of making noise in the competition but it was a quiet match by all of them. Roma did not play very well in the opening 45 minutes if there was any chance that they were going to get a result it was in that opening half of the game. I don’t think they realize the opportunity they had Roma is one of the most attacking teams in all of Europe when they’re not playing well you have to come in and take advantage of that because you may not get another chance. In the second half, they surely didn’t have another chance. The own goal didn’t help and that may have killed the momentum. It was truly an opportunity wasted that’s not to say that Roma wouldn’t have come out in that second half and done exactly what they did but given the circumstances Istanbul had a chance to potentially steal points in that first half but simply put they didn’t take advantage of it they practically did nothing and allowed Roma to roll them.
The end result of this match was more than satisfying but the start somewhat concerning. The sky isn’t falling Roma played play really well but they really struggled in the first half which against Istanbul isn’t a problem but against some of the better teams that Roma will inevitably come across that cannot happen. It was very concerning to see how the team played at home against a team that doesn’t have a nearly as much quality Roma barely created anything and while they still won this game that is something that needs to be talked about and improved on. Defensively obviously is the biggest thing that needs to be worked out but despite that, it was a very slow start. When Roma gets into the business and its competition they won’t be able to start as slowly as they did yesterday. Everything was corrected in the second half and they played really well but throughout the first 45 minutes, it was very unsatisfying football. Roma was still playing their Style but it wasn’t working in the way it typically does. There was a serious lack of creativity and had very limited chances. Away from home that won’t be accepted Roma have to feel great about the performance but they have some things to work on before they’re truly ready for European success.
Lack of Productivity from Edin Visca
Edin Visca is one of the best players in Turkish football as I started going into this game in this Europa League campaign how far they go would largely depend on how he performs. He would be completely neutralized by drama last night by Roma’s defense that has not played well this season and continues to have issues. He couldn’t find a rhythm of the game he couldn’t attack with much success and overall had a very miserable performance. He shoulders a large part of the responsibility for their lack of creativity and their incredibly poor performance. Not only is he the best player on Istanbul he is one of the best players in all of Turkey. The Bosnian Winger has scored 81 goals for Istanbul he has been a proven commodity in big games. Last night was an incredibly big game and quite frankly he didn’t show up. The expectation was we would see some kind of output from the Bosnian Winger he is the biggest attacking threat and last night he wasn’t really there. If he doesn’t find a way to perform at the high-level in this competition Istanbul don’t stand a chance. A strong performance cant change the results but without question, it would have given some glimpses positivity there are not many positive things to say they will have a chance to rebound but this was not an ideal start last night in Rome he just came up too short.
Second Half Explosion
It seems like I’m talking about this very thing every week. It truly was an offensive explosion in the second half. They were major adjustments made maybe not in terms of personnel but in terms of strategy from Paulo Fonseca. In the opening 45 minutes as I said it wasn’t strong and they were lucky even to be in front at that point. When they came out for the second half it looked and felt like a different team. They came forward with much more confidence and their conviction on the counter-attack was perfect . It was attacking football of its highest order a masterpiece by all accounts. The way Nicolo Zaniolo Justin kluivert and Edin Dzeko performed as a tandem was absolutely extraordinary. Seemed they had killed off the game from the very start of the second half. Nicolo Zaniolo magical display set up two goals scoring another Edin Dzeko scoring Justin kluivert showing unbelievable quality and poised on the counter. It was somewhat reminiscent to the way they performed last weekend. However, the circumstances were much more impressive. Roma did not play well in the first half and they struggled to create anything for much of the early part of the game. There was just something that wasn’t there but that changed almost immediately when they came out to the second half. They looked as explosive as last weekend and completely disregarded the first-half performance. They Came Out Swinging and eventually got things going in the right direction. Roma could have even scored more if they played like this in the first half. Fonseca made the right adjustments set up his team and corrected everything that didn’t go well in the first half. They polarized Istanbul laid in that game largely due to the manager making his adjustments within the team talked at halftime they were different games and they executed and such a brilliant way. This Roma attack is as explosive as any I have seen in Europe in just four games they have scored 12 goals this is a team that is certainly capable of scoring 100+ goals something we haven’t seen in a few years with a mix of young talent and experience it gives them the capability of fighting their way back into games as well as turning around a bad performance it was in full display last night as a first-half and second-half from Roma were night and day in comparison.