Last night was a do-or-die match in the Europa League. Roma needed at least a point to advance with Istanbul and Gladbach still in the running for qualifying for the Knockout rounds. Even though potentially only a point was needed it was too much of a risk as it felt like a must-win match. Everything was riding for Roma they played a terrific matchup football at the San Siro against Italy’s best team Inter Milan. All the momentum should have been with Roma on top of that they were at the Stadio Olimpico in their backyard with fate and destiny in their hands with a possibility to control their situation. Regardless of what happened, they did need some help from the other match it was an open Group with three different teams that could potentially Win It. Roma wanted to try to win the group to avoid a tough match in the round of 32. They had some injury concerns but even they had enough quality to take care of business. However, football can be a tricky game sometimes quality only means so much performance is what is required. It started so well for Roma and they seemingly lost their touch at certain points. In the opening 10 minutes, Diego Perotti was given a penalty after Edin Dzeko was taken out in the Box. He stepped up and delivered as Perotti gave Roma the 1-0 lead from 12 yards out. It seemed like Roma we’re going to be in cruise control but almost immediately after it Roma causes their own demise as Wolfsberger got back into the game. Alessandro Florenzi put the ball in the back of his own net to equalize. But yet again Roma showed their determination to get back into the game and to put themselves in front. Diego Perotti orchestrated a chance for Edin Dzeko who put the ball into the back of the net to give them the lead. It was a 2-1 Roma lead at halftime. It wasn’t really a great performance by either team it was a gritty match of football and that’s what we saw throughout. However, things took a turn for the worst in the second half. Just minutes into it Wolfsberger hit the post. Then not long after Antonio Mirante picked up an injury forcing to come out as Pau Lopez Roma starting keeper who is not at 100% was forced to come on as he was hoping to get some rest to play on Sunday. He came in and within minutes Wolfsberger equalized making it 2-2. we cannot really fault Lopez because he’s not at 100% and he was just brought into the game but nonetheless it was a costly situation. Meanwhile in Germany Gladbach and Istanbul were battling out a 1-1 draw. As it stood there Roma would be finishing second in the group. They needed a victory to change that. The victory may have been desired but it never came. Late in the match, Roma had a couple of late chances But ultimately everything fell short. Fonseca even brought on Nicolo Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pellegrini late to try to make a difference despite unbelievable quality they fell short as the whistle blew at the Stadio Olimpico ending in a very disappointing 2-2 draw. Meanwhile, in Germany, there was some late drama as Istanbul a team that Roma beat by a combined seven goals scored the late ultimately winning the group for the Turkish side. Roma goes through to The Knockout stage finishing second in a group that they should have won. the Phantom penalty played a role in Roma’s inability to win the group but they only have themselves to blame as everything was in their hands three points especially because of the late winner would have taken them to the top of the group. Despite their unencouraging performance throughout in the group stage they get through in what was a scary finish.
Roma Aren’t one of the Favorites
Paulo Fonseca is one of the best-attacking mines in Europe because of this his teams have done significantly well in European competitions. Even if they fail to win the big one or lift the trophy they have gone on runs that have been utterly impressive. The arrival of Fonseca in Rome made Roma the favorites in this competition or at least one of them from the very beginning. Not only was Fonseca a brilliant manager who thrives in Europe but he was in position to do something truly great. He had a much better team to his disposal with young stars all over the place. The perception was going into this competition they would certainly be one of the favorites for the title. They still might be but the perception has changed. Roma has the ability to win the Europa League and I truly believe they will go on a run but at this moment after an unencouraging performance in the group stage that they only barely got out of they are no longer one of the favorites for the trophy. Only a few times in this competition so far have they been overly impressive. Roma has a lot of work to do if they truly want European Glory. Fonseca will have his team ready for the challenges that lie ahead but they are no longer one of the favorites that may be meaningless in the end however the performance of the group stage was too inconsistent for them to still be that.
Roma’s Have to win Games like this
Games like this maybe not necessary but they needed a result and had the result in the other game gone differently Roma would be heading home. This was a statement game or at least it had the potential to be just that. With everything on the line, Roma did not perform to their capabilities. Now Roma has to accept the fact that the team that won the group they beat 3-0 & 4-0 of all the teams in this competition Roma found them the most winnable. This was the game to prove who they really are. They were ultimately unable to do that. It is a little bit worrisome for when the stakes raise they need to learn from this experience and remember it don’t celebrate what has happened but find ways to come through when bigger moments. This was the biggest of moments three teams had the potential to go through Roma was playing the bottom of the group this was just a match they needed. If Circumstances had gone different Roma wouldn’t even be in The Knockout stage which would have been utterly embarrassing. This was not a very strong group but even despite that Roma made this more difficult on themselves and they had to. Injuries played a factor in everything and they’ve had to deal with an outrageous amount but there’s enough talent in this team to pick up points especially against a team like this. Wolfsberger deserves respect they performed admirably throughout this competition but this is a Roma team that should have found a no difficulty with. In two matches they only collected two points. Roma is a great team that plays intense aggressive attacking football they should have never had a chance. Roma did this to themselves and it’s something that needs to be changed if they’re going to stand any chance in this competition. In the big matches, they have to deliver and they failed to do that. This isn’t the end it’s not time to panic but certainly Roma has quite a few things to work on before this competition reaches the business end.
Florenzi’s time in Roma could be ending soon?
In the last several seasons we have lost two of Roma’s biggest icons in club history. The great Francesco Totti and the Gladiator Daniele de Rossi. It is extremely difficult to follow those two legends as Captain of this club. Ultimately the armband was handed down to Alessandro Florenzi. At one point many believed he would be a Roma lifer someone who played for the club all the way through. It seems like that is under threat at least in the distant future. Edin Dzeko has worn the armband more frequently then Florenzi. All Romans love Florenzi because of his passion and what he represents for the club. However, that’s not enough to prove his worth. He also has to perform at a high level and the lead of the troops. His leadership skills are pretty good but his ability to perform this season has been disappointed. It is highly likely to come January he will not be at this club. His future in Rome is fading. Paulo Fonseca who I will not question from the football perspective prefers Leonardo Spinazzola. Right now he gives Roma a better chance to win a week-in and week-out basis. We could truly be seeing the end of Florenzi in a Roma shirt. He has done some great things with us and has made over 200 appearances for the club he still got to live his Boyhood dream and played for the club he loves the most. However, at this rate, he’s not going to get into the team and this Thursday he was abysmal absolutely the worst player on the pitch on both sides of the ball. It hurts me to say this but it’s time for Roma to cut their losses and move on. Leonardo Spinazzola is a much better player right now and Florenzi is finding it difficult to get back into this team and when he is there he has failed to deliver. We love him we really do but it’s about more than just loyalty to a club he has to perform and unless things start changing drastically his time in Rome may be coming to an end.
Phantom Penalty Denies Roma of winning Group
There’s no denying that Roma let themselves down in this group. They make things far more difficult on themselves may have to be this it should have been pretty simple given the amount of talent that this team as they have no one but themselves to blame but themselves and has let everybody else down. However despite how inconsistent with their performances. A controversial decision cost them winning the group. I’m not making excuses because Roma did not play well enough to win it but none the less if one decision goes in Roma’s favor they win this group and get in a better position in the next round. In the 90th minute of a match between Roma and Gladbach, we witnessed one of the worst calls in the history of the sport. No VAR could save the atrocity of what it was. Chris Smalling was called for a penalty that hit him in the face. It did not touch any part of his hand or arm meaning it is not a penalty. Nonetheless, the outrageousness of it became reality a penalty was given to the German side they converted the penalty they earned a point. Roma had a 1-0 lead going into the 90th minute and despite how they performed it was three points is that they absolutely positively deserved. If the referee gets that right if they are given the three points they deserved on that night. They receive three more points and they had meant they would have won the group. I’m not giving excuses for the way they played but under the controversial circumstances because of this call in this call alone, Roma missed out on winning the group that they probably should have anyway. Gladbach ended up missing out on the next round which may be the only silver lining but despite that, if that call is played correctly Roma would win the group. Based on their performance they didn’t deserve to but based on the entire situation they should have.