A.S Roma 1 Borussia 1FT
Following a sluggish performance against Sampdoria in their 0-0 draw with the Bottom Feeders of Italian football Roma would prepare for the Europa League Showdown against Bundesliga leaders Borussia Monchengladbach. Roma has been struggling over the last few weeks largely because of injuries and last weekend Roma has lost two more players to injury. This forced Paulo Fonseca to change tactics and formation ahead of the match. Roma currently sits at the top of the group while the German side still is yet to find their way in this competition mostly because of their priority in the league. The Germans were the better team for much of the first half supplying opportunities to score on multiple occasions. Roma was up for the challenge and made things incredibly difficult for them. It really does seem that the defense isn’t the problem anymore having shown some real promise over the last couple weeks. The Germans were unable to take care of their chances leaving opportunity for Nicolo Zaniolo as his header gave Roma the 1-0 lead late in the first half. In the second half, it was much less exciting and became very tactical with very few legitimate opportunities for each team. However, finishing in front of goal seemed to be a problem for both teams. Roma was on their way to a massive three points in the Europa League that would have made A statement for the rest of the group. It had not been a particularly great performance but they made progress defensively and did more than enough to deserve the three points. However, there was some real late controversy very late in the contest. Roma conceded a penalty in stoppage time. In what was one of the worst calls in the history of sports. Chris Smalling was called for a handball that touched his face. Truly one of the most egregious decisions ever made. The officiating error that could have big ramifications as the German side was given a penalty as we see A point split at the Stadio Olimpico. A decision that makes anyone who watched it sick to their stomach this weekend we will see a fired-up Roma who was robbed of a victory that they truly deserved. Somebody will need to answer for this. An unfair result to a Roma team who did everything required to get themselves in positions to win.
After serving a suspension last week Paulo Fonseca returns to the bench. Roma has used the 4-2-3-1 formation exclusively this season. Despite that in light of the number of injuries, Roma is having to deal with this season the Portuguese manager decided to make a change in the tactics. In their Europa League match, tonight Roma comes out of the 4-1-4-1 formation. This formation hasn’t been used at Roma in ages it is a nice change of pace and given the lack of depth in the defensive Midfield position ultimately seems like the right choice. In goal would be the Spaniard Pau Lopez. In front of him at left-back would be Alex Kolarov beside him would be the center-back partnership of Federico Fazio and Chris Smalling then out right-back would be Leonardo Spinazzola. In the front of Roma’s backline would be a Gianluca Mancini lining up just a little in front to give Roma more Security in the back. Roma would have two central midfielders in the center of the pitch. As Javier Pastore and Jordan Veretout patrolled the center. On the left-wing would be Dutch youngster Justin kluivert then on the other side on the right-wing would be Italian youngster Nicolo Zaniolo. Then upfront as Roma only healthy Striker would be Edin Dzeko. It would be a very thin bench for Roma this evening with Florenzi and Diego Perotti as options.
After preparations and predictions Europa League group J matchday 3 would kick off in the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Roma, we’re looking for their first win in their last several games as the Bundesliga leaders came to town. The match kicked off Roma would be playing with a very thin Squad given the number of injuries they have suffered so far this season. In the early parts of a game, Borussia Monchengladbach took some early moments in an attempt to claim some superiority. Ramey tried to give the Germans the early lead striking a ball coming from a Patrick Herman cross. He failed to reach the target as Pau Lopez was unchallenged. However, he came back just a few minutes later with a tremendous opportunity this time from very close range coming off a set-piece situation he saw his well-hit shot from close range cling off the bar. In the early goings, the Germans did seem to be the superior team with some early chances. Just a minute later Breel Embolo miss from distance. It took a while for Roma to get into the game with the Germans seeming to be the superior side in the first half. Florin missed the target as well as Marcus Thurman just a few minutes later. Despite the fact that they had failed to reach the target they were coming forward and getting opportunities to breakthrough. It had been a little over 20 minutes before Roma got themselves in position in this game. Chris Smalling and Jordan Veretout both couldn’t find the target as their clinical finishing issues only continue. Despite that, they got themselves in position into the game and we’re growing into it slowly. However, there was no question about it that the German side was in control at least for the time being. Patrick Herrmann would miss and Florian would be denied by Pau Lopez making a great save. The Bundesliga leaders we’re creating a lot of opportunities to break through however despite having limited opportunities Roma took advantage in the 32nd minute. Coming from a corner hit perfectly by Jordan Veretout Nicolo Zaniolo found space and put his head through the cross as he buried at the ball into the back of the neck to give a Roma the 1-0 lead. It would be the second goal in the Europa League this season for Nicolo Zaniolo as he gives Roma the lead going into the second half as they held on to the advantage. After 45 minutes Roma had a 1-0 lead thanks to Nicolo Zaniolo who delivered at the right time.
It wasn’t a great first half of Roma as for a good portion of the game Borussia Monchengladbach we’re the better team. However, Roma came through when they needed to put themselves in front. There wasn’t a ton of action in terms of chances in the second half as it was a rather technical match of football this only continue in the second half. Just minutes into the second half Patrick Herrmann missed from the side of the box to try to get his side back in the game. There was a certain lack of creativity and energy by both teams as counter-attacks and high-quality chances were limited. The one thing Roma did exceptionally well in the game was defend. The defensive issues have been well-documented this doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore. Gianluca Mancini and Chris Smalling were incredibly formidable they defended so well as a unit limiting very few chances by the Germans. The problem has been tonight and over the last few games is there play in the Midfield without Lorenzo Pellegrini they have struggled yet again and that aspect that only continued in this match. However, the defensive improvements gave Roma a glimpse of positivity. It continued to be an ugly back and forth game in the rain. With 13 minutes to go Nicolo Zaniolo came out for Antonucci as Roma made their first chance of the evening. Immediately after the substitution the Germans had an opportunity to score but were denied by Pau Lopez. It seemed like Roma we’re going to coast to three points Federico Fazio and Chris Smalling came close with opportunities before Alessandro Florenzi came in for Justin kluivert as Roma made their second change of the evening Roma were just minutes away from securing all three points and getting their first win in several games. However, there was some late drama me 93rd minutes Roma was called for a phantom penalty. In one of the most egregious embarrassing and season altering decisions, I have ever seen. Chris Smalling was called for a penalty for a handball. In fact, the ball did not touch his hand or his arm the ball hit him in the face and the referee still called it. VAR is not in the Europa League because some of the team cannot afford it. Borussia Monchengladbach gets the penalty and score in what was a robbery. This was the worst call in any sports in history. You cannot call a penalty for a ball in the face. Roma, we’re not overly impressive and maybe a draw is a fair result but under the circumstances, change is needed in this competition. Anger and outrage reflect outside of the Stadio Olimpico as Roma are robbed of three points.
Roma was denied a victory in the closing moments at the Stadio Olimpico in one of the most controversial calls in sports history. Roma wasn’t necessarily particularly strong in this game and they wasted far too many chances once again. However, none of that matters when it comes to the context of the late ending. Roma was minutes away from three points and showing their intent in the group stage. A late penalty denied them of everything they’ve worked for in this match. Roma had defended at such a high level throughout this match which in the early part of the season was their biggest problem. Gianluca Mancini and Chris Smalling specifically did exceptionally well of making things as difficult as it possibly could on the Germans. we saw progression in that area it was a perfect defensive display as we have seen Roma make improvements defensively for the last several weeks. Clinical finishing was an issue once again with that being said they found a way through with a goal from Nicolo zaniolo came through for Roma when they were lacking the creativity to give from the initial 1-0 lead before half-time. However, all the work that Roma did to that point now seems irrelevant as we saw one of the biggest officiating blunders in football history. Roma conceded a penalty in a 93rd minute as Chris Smalling was called for a handball. However, there’s one problem with that it did not touch his hands, in fact, it touched his face. The referee still gave the penalty and this only reiterates the fact that the Europa League needs to have a VAR this was one of the worst calls not just in football history but in history of the sport. It was clear that the referee did not see it and he just assumed it was a handball that puts the entire Integrity of his position up for Debate. This referee should never be able to officiate a game ever again. Roma we’re struggling and this victory was going to give them a big boost in confidence and momentum instead that was stripped from underneath them. The result itself was unjustified his inability to make the correct decision comes at the expense of three points that Roma would have gotten if he had made the right call. The entire Stadio Olimpico was outraged and full of the anger of the decision the entire Roma team and the coaching staff was perplexed by what they saw. Roma did everything they needed to win this game, unfortunately, they were not allowed to win. Gianluca Mancini was tremendous he played outside of his positions even despite that he was the best player on the pitch and was a large reason why Roma defended so well as he gets the man of the match. In light of these tragic events, Roma will be mad inspired for this weekend’s match against AC Milan. In fact, I don’t think it matters who Roma is playing they are going to crush Milan given what just happened. Roma simply was not allowed to win this match it is unfair to this team to not give them the three points that they deserved as they are on the wrong side of the world’s call in sports history.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Gianluca Mancini (2)