Last night we saw one of the most exciting and exhilarating matches of the weekend. A match between a Roma and Cagliari ended up becoming a goal-fest a match that you could not take your eye off even for a second. Coming into the game Roma had just started to get their confidence and momentum back. They broke their three-game losing streak against Lecce last weekend which was a very dominating 4-0 victory for the Romans. Then on Thursday night Justin kluivert scored in a 1-1 draw in Belgium as Roma go through to the round of 16 in the Europa League against Gent. All of a sudden Roma has that confidence back that they seem to have been missing in the earlier parts of the season. It was a really rough stretch but it appears Roma have gotten over it. Roma traveled to Sardinia to face Cagliari for the second time this season. The visitors would look for revenge after having points taken away from them in the first meeting when these two teams battled at the Stadio Olimpico earlier in the season. A late Nikola kalinic goal was taken away by VAR in what was a perfectly good goal as Roma were robbed of three points on that occasion. In light of that match Paulo Fonseca was thrown out and suspended for his actions following the decision. Roma certainly had not forgotten that. Roma looked to keep their momentum with yet another victory as they continue to try to chase down Atalanta for these final Champions League spot in Italy. It seems a bit far-fetched at this point but there still a sense of hope that they can find a way back and get into the Champions League. Meanwhile Cagliari has been in horrid form since their hot start to the season the hosts were looking to get back on track in what could have been a crucial victory as they haven’t won a match since December 2nd. It turned out to be an absolute a wild evening in Sardinia on Sunday night. The game never seem to be over until we heard the final whistle. Roma from the very beginning of the match dominated the game. In the opening 10-15 minutes they came at the goal with a similar aggression that they had showed last week at the Stadio Olimpico. It was an assault of chances in the early goings as we saw Roma in complete control during the first half. Despite the fact that Cagliari did have the advantage in possession It didn’t mean much as Roma got forward and challenged Robin Olsen who had a superb day against his former side. They tested him on a numerous occasions in the opening 15 minutes as they were coming forward with a different type of aggression that we have seen this season. Roma were on the verge of scoring on so many different occasions. it looks like it was going to be a long afternoon for the home side as they really didn’t stack up to a Roma team that was coming with them with everything they got. Cagliari provided next to nothing in the early part of the first half but Cagliari converted on the one chance that they had as it was an opportunistic chance for Joao Pedro. The Brazilian Striker receive the ball from across from the Midfield before striking the ball out of the air into the top corner to give them a 1-0 lead. Roma had dominated the entire match up to that point and still found themselves behind. The stadium erupted as Cagliari they got a lead that they probably did not deserve. A very frustrating feeling for Roma as they had been the better team throughout the first half. However Roma would not have to wait very long in fact within a minute the scores were level again. A mistake from Luca Pellegrini put the ball on a plate for Nikola kalinic as the Croatian put his head through it into the back of the net. After the equalizer the match went back to the way it was playing prior to the goals. Cagliari would have a chance every once in awhile but Roma had control the match and looked dangerous almost on a consistent basis. Near the end of the first half the wizard in the Midfield henrikh Mkhitaryan picked out a perfectly executed pass into Nikola kalinic who tucked the ball into the bottom corner as Roma took a 2-1 lead just minutes before half-time. It was a Nikola kalinic double in what was a truly surprising performance from the Croatian Striker. Roma took that lead into the second half And it looked like Roma were starting to pull away. Nikola kalinic supplied a headed pass that lead to Justin kluivert on the break when the youngster gets forward with the ball is feet it’s game over. Justin kluivert converted on the counter-attack giving Roma the 3–1 lead. It looked all but over as Roma gave themselves a two-goal cushion. However we had a thriller on our hands. There were about 15 minutes remaining when Cagliari got themselves a lifeline. Gaston Pereiro scored a sublime strike out of the reach of Pau Lopez to minimize the deficit to just one goal with not a lot of time left. A little over five minutes later Roma supplied what looked like was going to be the knockout punch. From the far corner Roma were given a free kick. Alex Kolarov hit the ball so cleanly as the ball whipped into the box henrikh Mkhitaryan got a late touch as the ball rolled into the back of the net to give Roma a 4-2 to lead. That’s was surely it right? Wrong there was even more drama beyond that. With a minute remaining Chris Smalling was called for a handball in the box giving Cagliari a penalty in the 89th minute. Remarkably Joao Pedro was denied by Pau Lopez but the Brazilian connected on the rebound as he put his head through the ball into the back of the net it was now 4-3 in a crazy change in events. Roma ultimately held on through stoppage time to earn a 4-3 victory in what was an absolute Thriller in Sardinia Roma get the Revenge they were looking for as they win back to back following a brilliant offensive performance that they needed as they pick up all three points in what was one of the matches of the weekend it was never over until it was.
Nikola Kalinic Seriously?
One of the biggest stories of Roma’s crazy win in Sardinia was the performance of Nikola kalinic. As crazy and unusual as it may sound he was one of the best performers of the week. Nikola kalinic arrived in Rome during the summer on loan from Atletico Madrid. He had not done particularly well in his last couple Seasons with AC Milan Florentina and Madrid. There was very little expectations of what he could potentially do in the Roma colors. There was a certain concern of his ability to play at a high level. The idea was to give Edin Dzeko a backup Striker to come in if needed. So far this season not counting yesterday he has been abysmal. In nine games he has provided next to nothing. However Edin Dzeko needed the rest as he is played almost consistently the last several months. Nikola kalinic was called upon to fill in and provide a spark. He did exactly that he was as surprise hero in Roma’s victory on Sunday night. Nikola kalinic has been awful so the last person Roma were expecting to come through and perform the way he did was the Croatian. He scored two goals in the first half and then provided an assist on the Justin kluivert strike. He was responsible for three of the four goals putting together a performance I’m not sure we’re going to see again from him this season. This doesn’t necessarily change the fact that he probably won’t be back next season but he gave Roma a spark in a match they needed it. Roma were great offensively and attacked with such success but they narrowly escaped in a back-and-forth battle they needed his impact and he was one of the biggest reasons Roma ended up getting all three points. Edin Dzeko is one of the best strikers in Italian football and one of the best players in Roma’s history. He has not scored a double since last season. Nikola kalinic did it in a little over 15 minutes. He was without question one of the best performers of the week. It is highly unlikely he will make the list again but after his display that took Everyone by surprise he deserves his recognition. He was Sensational He did the job he was asked to do. It’s something we’re unlikely to see on a consistent basis he deserves a lot of credit for what he was able to do against a tough Cagliari team. His future is still up in the air but for the time being it’s not our job to worry about that when the summer comes we will have to have that conversation but for the time being we have to appreciate how the Croatian Striker performed when no one expected him to he was an unsung hero in Roma’s 4-3 victory on Sunday night.
The Arminian Wizard
The cancellation of the many Serie A games has given limited options for performance of the week. This week we are going to see Roma have two participants on the list once again. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been absolutely Sensational when he has played this season. He is coming for Lorenzo Pellegrini and become a difference-maker immediately. Lorenzo Pellegrini is a Roman boy with a very high ceiling he is a very talented player there is no doubting that. However the January player of the month might have a hard time getting his job back when he returns from his injury. Lorenzo Pellegrini is expected to be sidelined a month. When he comes back he will have a role on this team but it may not be as a starter. Henrikh Mkhitaryan since he has come in for Pellegrini has two goals and three assists in all competitions in just 3 games. The Armenian has become a wizard in the Midfield. It did not work at Arsenal or man united but it is working in Italy with Roma. Even when he’s not starting he’s finding ways to impact the game. He scored 6 goals this season which is a very high number especially given the fact he has been sidelined for an extended period of time due to injuries. Once again he played a starring role in Roma’s results over the weekend. He had a goal and an assist once again being responsible for 50% of the Roma goals scored in Sardinia on Sunday night. He has been such a Dynamo in the Midfield he has used his vision and passing ability to put his teammates into good positions while creating opportunities for himself as well. On Roma second goal it wasn’t anything short of absolute brilliance by The Armenian wizard. henrikh mkhitaryan cut into the box taking the defender away from Nikola kalinic. He then put the ball in perfect space as the Croatian ended up scoring the goal from close range. From the anticipation and a strategic approach it was a brilliant display of intelligence and skill by the midfielder. Then on Roma’s final goal the match one that proved to be important he was in the right place at the right time getting his foot to a incredible Cross by Alex Kolarov to put the game away once and for all. He only continues to perform at an incredibly high level. He is the team’s third leading scorer despite the fact he’s missed over a month due to injury. Henrikh Mkhitaryan if he can maintain this level of play the rest of the season very well could be a surprise pick for the team of the season when we reach its conclusion. Roma have the momentum and confidence back within the team and a large part of that has been the performance of henrikh Mkhitaryan he is having an incredibly productive season as this entire team has started to pick up the momentum they needed. Once again The Armenian was sensational making big contributions in a Roma victory. Roma is getting the best out of him where Arsenal and Man United fail to do so there’s no doubt that he will be purchased by Roma at the end of the season After playing at the level he has this season it’s a no-brainer.
Roma’s Brilliance Cagliari’s Resilience
Roma’s attack once again was operating at an extremely high level in a hostile environment in a place that is difficult to get results. Roma did not mess around they went for the throat from the jump of the game. There has been certain times this season where they have lacked the aggression and the Killer Instinct necessary to finish off games. Sometimes even playing a little bit too soft Roma needed to develop that killer we saw that in the early parts of the game last night. Roma went right at them immediately. They dominated the majority of the game largely due to their attacking prowess that they displayed throughout the 90 minutes. Cagliari did a fantastic job trying to come back in this game and continuously made things difficult at times. Roma continued to hit them in the mouth and they continue to fight back to try to earn a point that seemed like a false sense of hope even with Cagliari trying to come back so frequently and so often Roma still managed to put goals in the back of the net. That was the biggest takeaway from the game their continuous ability to score goals. In their last two league matches they have scored eight goals. This is a team that has the capabilities of being a high-scoring functioning team the performance last night just put some more fuel to the fire. If it wasn’t for that resilience of Cagliari and the display from Joao Pedro Roma could have scored even more goals than they did. It was a high-scoring affair and both these teams deserve credit. Roma obviously are finally getting some consistency at least in the attacking perspective they were aggressive and they went right after it meanwhile Cagliari never died they continue to come back and make things as uncomfortable as possible. Both teams show their qualities in a incredibly entertaining match of football as we were treated to non-stop action in Sardinia. Roma just might have that consistency after all and they did all this without Edin Dzeko which makes things even more impressive.