A.S Roma 1 A.A Gent 0FT (Roma Lead 1-0 On AGG)
Coming off three consecutive losses Roma looked for a chance to get back right on track as they were searching for their identity as the team they have failed to develop any sort of confidence over the last several games. It was Europa League football as we reached the knockout stage with an opportunity for Roma to take a lead and potentially go into the second leg with momentum. On a Thursday night at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, they hosted Belgium side Gent who won their Europa League group. The two teams played several years ago in 2009 in which Roma had beaten them 7-1. It was the only time these two teams have played each other at this stage. Paulo Fonseca made some adjustments yet again and this time they seem to a paid off. Early in the game, it would be the Romans to take the lead in the game and the tie as they tried to put themselves in position for qualification for the Round of 16 with a very important goal. Edin Dzeko supplied a perfect pass into Carles Perez who beat the goalkeeper on the counter-attack to give Roma a 1-0 lead. In his first start, he finds the back of the net and what turned out to be a very important goal for Roma. Although Roma took the lead for much of the game they weren’t the superior team. The Belgium side was primed and ready and created many opportunities for them to breakthrough. It was a good Collective performance by the defense and Pau Lopez as they are limited chances from the opposition. Roma needed to avoid an away goal in this game. Roma lacked creativity in the midfield and we’re unable to create that many chances the important part was that they were able to convert when they needed to. However, Gent significantly outplays the Romans in Rome as they came within range of scoring on several opportunities. The Belgium side had multiple chances to get the away-goal they were searching for but they wasted far too many other opportunities while Roma only had a few chances throughout the match but the one they had they converted on Carles Perez’s strike split the difference as Roma will head into the second leg with a 1-0 lead thanks to Carles Perez while they avoided conceding an away goal. It is still a very winnable tie for gent but Roma has the momentum and the confidence for the first time this season. The performance and might not have been pretty but they get the job done now we have to see if they can take that confidence and improve on the display when these two teams meet again in Belgium.
Roma line up out of their 4-2-3-1 formation however Paulo Fonseca did make a couple of changes from the weekend’s loss in Bergamo. In goal as always would be Roma’s number one the Spaniard of Pau Lopez in the backline at left-back returning to the starting lineup would be Alex Kolarov. Besides him would be the center-back partnership of Chris Smalling and Federico Fazio. Then filling out the defense at right-back would be Leonardo spinazzola. In Roma’s defensive Midfield we would see the duo of Bryan cristante and Jordan veretout. In the central part of the attacking Midfield as always would be Lorenzo Pellegrini. On the left-wing returning to starting lineup would be Diego Perotti. On the opposite side on the right-wing would be Carles Perez who would be getting his first start since his January move from Barcelona. Then upfront as the main Striker the experience of the team edin Dzeko. Roma would have Justin kluivert Hendrick Mkhitaryan and others available on the bench.
After preparations and predictions, the match was just about to get underway in the Italian Capital as Roma kicked off the business part of their Europa League campaign at the Stadio Olimpico on a Thursday night this was Knockouts football. In the early part of the game, creativity didn’t really develop very much It became very possession-based football. Much of this game Gent did look like the better team and created opportunities for themselves more frequently. However, Roma would strike first on the evening early in the first half. The first chance of the entire game came in the 13th minute and Roma was able to convert on it. After a poor pass from the Gent defense, Edin Dzeko picked off the ball in the Midfield Edin Dzeko took a few dribbles before supplying a superb through-ball into Carles Perez. The Spanish Talent made his Mark in his first start the goalkeeper began to come out of the box while Perez was looking at a one-on-one with a keeper the Winger came through and delivered tucking the ball into the bottom corner to give Roma a 1-0 lead. It would be the first goal after showing some quality in the earlier games he got his chance to deliver and did exactly that his debut in the competition could not have gone any better as Roma had the lead as they looked to end their losing streak. The first half did not have a lot of rezoning opportunities for either team. Despite Roma putting themselves in front they were not playing at their best and struggled throughout the match itself Just a few minutes before the half-hour Mark the Belgian side had a chance to get back in the game as Roman Beezus came close with an excellent strike from outside the box. Roma was playing with the lead but gent looks more dangerous going forward especially with the Firepower that they had on the night. It looked like it was going to be a tough matchup football if Roma was going to come out of this without giving up an away goal. Just a few minutes later Igor Plastun tried to connect on a header that went wide. They’re really weren’t that many chances to score for either team. It was a very slow start for both but Roma had some glaring issues that were highlighted in the first half the Midfield lacked creativity as Lorenzo Pellegrini was having a horrible day. Despite that Roma found themselves in front following a debut goal from Carlos Perez.
A Carles Pérez brace gave Roma a 1-0 in his first start
The first half was a very slow-paced game with limited chances. Roma did end up getting that lead in the first half but after they scored on the first shot of the game they created next to nothing a large part of the first half was them defending the attack from Gent. It was clear based on how the game was unraveling Roma was going to have to do an awful lot and play much better if they were going to keep the lead and potentially get a clean sheet that would help them going forward. Early in the second-half Chris Smalling struck a ball coming from a Kolarov cross but the goalkeeper made the save as the Englishman try to bury the strike into the bottom corner. It was one of the few chances that Roma had in the second half. Gent start to respond with an avalanche of chances. Pau Lopez was put to work in the second half. Odjidja tried to strike from distance on two different occasions Pau Lopez was up for it as he denied him on both of them. Just a few minutes later Laurent depoitre came really close to the equalizer as he put his foot through a through ball supplied by Sven Kums. Roma would go to the bench for the first time as Davie Santon replaced Leonardo spinazzola. Roma at many points in this match looks like they were hanging on as long as they possibly could. Rome was not supplying all that much going forward and it looked like the match just had one goal in it. However, Roma had to be at their best as the match continued. Laurent depoitre came close again as he put his header through a cross. With just 20 minutes ago the momentum instilled in the Belgium side was mounting. It just looked like they were going to finally break through but luckily for Roma Paul Lopez was up for that challenge. With a little more than 10 minutes ago Hendrick Mkhitaryan replaced Lorenzo Pellegrini and Justin kluivert came in for Diego Perotti as Roma made two changes within minutes of each Very late in the match Pau Lopez made a really great very late in the match denying Depoitre. It was a really sloppy game from Roma but with just a couple minutes ago Roma nearly doubled their lead but was stopped by some heroic goalkeeping. on a counter-attack, Santon supplied a perfect ball inside to Kolarov as the flying Serbian connected on a really fabulous header the goalkeeper denied him before Hendrick Mkhitaryan tried to shoot the rebound which was blocked. That was the chance Roma needed in this match. Gent had been wasteful but Roma could have really killed it off at that moment. and in the end, Roma held on to pick up a massive victory Carles Perez early strike gives Roma a lead even though the performance was not special Roma certainly have recovered some of their confidence on a big stage as they should feel optimistic of their chances to advance following a big victory.
Roma weren’t at their best but manage to shutout Gent as they hold on to their 1-0 win
Roma takes their first step toward the round of 16 after picking up an extremely important victory that could set them up to go on a run in Europe. The performance itself is not one to gloss over as Roma was the second-best team throughout the match and it was an uninspiring Victory. However, the team was on a three-game losing streak and there were certainly positives to take from the game it was a momentum boost that the club absolutely needed. It was a tough match against gent at home at the Stadio Olimpico and struggle throughout the game however when it mattered the most Roma came through and gent was unable to do so that was the biggest difference in the final result. Carles Perez was given his first start and delivered as he converted on the first shot of the game scoring his first goal since joining in January. He showed the explosiveness and calmness putting a strike into the bottom corner that was the difference in a 1-0 victory for Roma. Edin Dzeko ended up setting him out very nicely with the pass as he also contributed to the opening goal. However, there weren’t many positives to take from that outside of the goal. Even if that is truly an ugly victory is really important for Roma their not playing very well and a victory like this could potentially get them back on track playing the way they were before the start of the new year. The defense and Pau Lopez did an exceptional job maintaining the clean sheet as it was not an easy task with how well Gent played in Roma this evening. Roma will have some task on their hand when these two teams and meet up again in a couple of weeks playing in Belgium will present its challenges but Roma has put themselves in position to go through gent wasted too many chances and fail to get in an away goal that would have been really important. The man of the match tonight goes to Pau Lopez he did all the little things and delivered when his team needed it the most. He was busy all night with how frequently the Belgium side came forward. He did an exceptional job in a really big match Roma needed to win this game not only to put them in a position to qualify for the round of 16 but for their own momentum and confidence which is lacking on the moment even though the performance was far from perfect the result itself. A Carles Perez strike and goalkeeping heroics from Paula Lopez as Roma are just one more performance away from qualifying the next round it’s far from over but Roma shutouts Gent to give them a great chance to qualify. Finally, the fans at the Olimpico have something to cheer about despite the performance the result holds the greatest importance.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Pau Lopez