Roma 2 Milan 1FT
Roma got back into action this evening after the miserable Europa League experience on Thursday. As we all know Roma got a draw in that game following one of the worst decisions in the history of football. Prior to that Roma dropped points against bottom table Sampdoria in a frustrating and disgruntled 0-0 draw. These series of events set up one of the biggest matches of Roma’s season as AC Milan took the trip to Rome as they arrived at the Stadio Olimpico. Roma had not beaten AC Milan in 2 years after losing the season series last year. Much like Roma AC Milan has struggled for form and have failed to live up to expectations. Both of these teams were to a certain extent trying to find that momentum to push their season in a more positive direction. A match like this could end up being incredibly crucial to get the season on the right track. AC Milan came out very aggressive as they were in control of the match for much of the first half even though Roma had their moments it took them a while to grow into the game. Roma needed to respond to the robbery that took place on Thursday & they got a big response. Despite AC Milan appearing by all accounts as the better team, Roma took advantage of a chance near the end of the first half as Edin Dzeko’s header ripped through the back of the net to give Roma the 1-0 lead. In the second half, AC Milan ended up getting back into the game through Hernandez who leveled the match. However, it would not take very long for Roma to get back in front Nicolo Zaniolo struck gold burying the ball into the back of the net to give Roma the 2-1 lead. Roma finally felt the momentum and confidence as they played a tremendous second half of football in which they probably could have scored on more occasions. Despite adjustments from AC Milan it was not enough as Roma beat Milan for the first time in two years in what was a tough victory that the Romans absolutely needed. Despite a slow start to the season Roma sit just one point from Champions League. After disappointment not only Thursday but over the last few weeks Roma delivers a big response securing all three points to get themselves back on track with an emphatic victory at home at the Stadio Olimpico.
Last week Paulo Fonseca went with the 4-1-4-1 formation largely to do with the injuries that Roma has on their books. The Portuguese manager who gets to return to the bench this week keeps his team intact as Roma make only one adjustment from the Europa League match on Thursday. In goal as always would be the Spaniard Pau Lopez. The backline would consist of Alex Kolarov at left-back back beside him would be the center-back Partnership of Federico Fazio and Chris Smalling then patrolling at right-back would be Leonardo Spinazzola. As Roma lone defensive midfielder would be Gianluca Mancini who for the second game in a row plays in this spot despite being a little out of position his performance was really impressive on Thursday. In the attacking Midfield controlling the central position would be Javier Pastore and Jordan Veretout. Then on the left-wing coming in for the suspended Justin kluivert would be Diego Perotti who makes his first start of the season after being injured for the first several games. On the opposite side on the right-wing would be Roma’s super-talent Nicolo Zaniolo. Then upfront as Roma’s lone Striker would be the Bosnian Hitman Edin Dzeko. He is the only attacker that Roma have to their disposal at the moment. Roma would still have a rather thin bench but would have Antonucci and Florenzi available.
After preparations and predictions, the match was just about to get underway in the Stadio Olimpico as AC Milan and Rome were about to throw down in the Eternal City. Following very controversial result on Thursday Roma they were ready for the opportunity to respond to the robbery in the Europa League. Both these teams have struggled significantly so far this season but who would have the motivation to pick up all three points on Sunday night. AC Milan in the opening parts of the game did look like the better team as they got into position a couple of times in the opening moments of the contest. With just a few minutes into the game, Hakan Calhanoglu took an ambitious strike from outside the box that misfired. Just a couple minutes later they will come through again. Youngster Rafael Leao hit from a strike from inside the box. In the opening part of the game, Milan did look incredibly dangerous going forward but Roma’s defense yet again showed his qualities as they were making things as difficult as possible on a Milan team that is desperate for points. Roma would respond just a few minutes later as Diego Perotti setup Javier Pastore but his strike from the side of the box misfired. Roma was in the game but there was no question about it Milan’s looks much more antagonizing going forward. Near the half-hour mark, Pau Lopez denied Hakan Calhanoglu and Suso who tried to give AC Milan the opening goal. However, despite AC Milan’s superiority Roma came into the game late in the first half. Nicolo Zaniolo dribbled through multiple Defenders on a counter-attack before striking and absolute Thunderbolt from deep but somehow someway Gigi Donnarumma made a brilliant save to keep things level. This would set up a corner in the 38th minute. Despite Milan showing some real qualities, it would be Roma to show their superiority. Edin Dzeko was almost unmarked in the box on the corner Mancini’s head flick found Edin Dzeko found himself wide open and unmarked as the Bosnian viciously connected on a header as a ball ripped through the net to give Roma the 1-0 lead. The mask he was wearing fell off his face displaying the power of his header. It would be edin Dzeko’s fifth goal in the league and 6th in all competitions. Great placement from Mancini and follow-through by the Bosnian but it must be said the AC Milan defense left the most dangerous player through the air by himself. Just a few minutes later Roma had a great chance doubling as Diego Perotti released Javier Pastore who struck a well-hit ball but Gigi Donnarumma made a brilliant save to keep Milan in the game. That would signal the end of the first half. As Roma would it take the 1-0 lead into the second half after 45 minutes thanks to a goal from Edin Dzeko.
It was a relatively good first half for Roma as they showed some qualities in the back half of that first half. This team lacks that consistency as Roma grew into the game they Justified that with a strong first-half performance all the momentum was with Roma. Early in the second half, Javier Pastore failed to hit the target coming from a complicated angle. Despite missing Javier Pastore has shown those qualities in light of the injuries may be Roma will eventually get what they paid for when they brought him to Italy. A few minutes later Roma nearly broke through again as Chris Smalling came through connecting on a vicious header that just sailed a little high. Roma would make their first chance of the game as a youngster Antonucci came into the game for Diego Perotti who had a good run out but ultimately was the right decision as he is recently coming off an injury. However AC Milan despite being significantly outplayed at least for the previous 20 minutes however they found their moment In the 55th minute Milan left-back Hernandez struck a ball that deflected off Chris Smalling that rolls into the back of the net giving Pau Lopez no chance to save this to equalize. It was truly an opportunity for AC Milan to get back into the game. Milan we’re trying to steal momentum however Roma had other ideas as they got right back into it however Roma had other ideas in the 58th minute the Romans got themselves back in front within minutes after conceding. A poor pass by Milan was grabbed by Edin Dzeko who slung it into Nicolo Zaniolo it took a slight deflection off the defender. Nicolo Zaniolo took the ball and buried it into the top corner from just inside the box to give Roma the 2-1 lead. A rapid response from Roma after just conceding a goal get the momentum back in this game as the young Italian scored a potential match-winner. It is the second goal he has scored against AC Milan as he buries his third goal of the season. Roma continues to take that momentum throughout the match The defense continued to play at a high level and the attack held their end of the bargain. With about 20 minutes to go Gianluca Mancini came very close to scoring putting his head to a cross from Jordan Veretout who has been tremendous in the last couple of games. Gianluca Mancini really should have scored as it was a perfectly executed play. With about 13 minutes to go Paulo Fonseca would make another change as Cert Merin made his first appearance for the Romans following a move from Turkey this summer. He was tremendous in the very few minutes he played supplying passing contributing to the counter-attack. A few minutes later Nicolo Zaniolo nearly added a second one with a terrific run and strike but Gigi Donnarumma came through with a big save yet again. Milan try to break the game open late but the Roman defense was too much to overcome as Roma hold on to an important victory as they prevail in a battle against AC Milan at the Stadio Olimpico it was all smiles and excitement at the Stadio Olimpico as Roma beating Milan for the first time in two years in one of their best performances of the season.
Roma had points stolen from them in the Europa League on Thursday. Roma was energized angry and fired up and they gave quite a response. They beat an AC Milan team that they have struggled with the last few occasions. Not only historically AC Milan has had success in Roma’s Back Garden. This was a platform and opportunity to get things back on the right track. At the Stadio Olimpico against AC Milan two of the biggest teams in Italy trying to figure out a way to find themselves this season. AC Milan controlled possession throughout the match and during the early part of the first half, Milan did seem to be more in control of the game. However, Roma found a few moments in which they took advantage of which was the big difference in the first half. Gigi Donnarumma made some great saves down the stretch but a defensive mismatch leads to the opening goal. Edin Dzeko got in a great position to take the lead at the end of the first half. Franck Kessie left the Bosnian unmarked on the corner which gave the Milan goalkeeper no chance that put Roma in front. After their goal, Roma managed to find some momentum they looked really strong coming forward in the late parts of the first half. Milan found an equalizer early in the second half before Zaniolo won the game for Roma just a few minutes after Milan had equalized. The momentum was with Roma for the duration of the match as they held on for the 2-1 Victory. This was a tough match but it was very important for team morale as a pick up three points for the first time in several games. After being robbed out of two wins earlier this is exactly what they needed. Especially responding to what occurred on Thursday night. Once again the defense displayed some real magical moments. As they continue to improve and develop into one of the strengths of this team. Nicolo Zaniolo and Edin Dzeko were on a different level during the match as they came through in big moments and did some of the dirty work that led to a massive three points from Roma. It was a strong performance at the Stadio Olimpico this evening something that seems to be a rarity this season. The man-of-the-match tonight goes to Edin Dzeko not only did he score the goal but he did a lot of things that opened up the game for Roma great ball distribution getting his teammates into good positions and used his intelligence to take the defenders with him while leaving open space for teammates. It is highlighted once again that he has made tremendous progress under Paulo Fonseca. He’s scoring goals on a somewhat regular basis and as long as he’s doing that regularly Roma has a legitimate chance of Champions League football. With the victory they sit just one point behind Napoli for that final spot it’s early in the season but Roma has put themselves back in position to be in that Champions League race for the Long Haul. They do not have a lot of time to rest as they play again on Wednesday which will give them another opportunity to get three points and continue their momentum.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Edin Dzeko (3)