Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Jay Scardina On January - 14 - 2011

Roma Review: The New Year Brings Disappointment

Happy New Year from the Roma Review! Intense last matchday in Serie A with games on Thursday and Sunday.

Playing two matches so close together can take a toll on players, especially after winter breaks as holiday revelry and distractions which occur off the pitch require a refocus upon return.

Clubs have new players entering the squad as the January transfer market comes knocking.

These newbies have to get use to a new team, new style of play and of course new accommodations. A few facts making the start of the second half of the scudetto race very interesting. Roma started the new year by moving into forth place, but missed an opportunity to go past Lazio and into third.

Last Thursday’s match had Roma hosting Catania at La capitale. Roma opened the match strongly as Borriello took advantage of keeper mistakes making it 1-0 five minutes in. Catania came back and scored two before the end of the first half.

The home squad not about to start the new year on the wrong foot, scored the equalizer early in the second but with controversy. It looked likely the ball went past the byline before Riise’s cross to Borriello. Catania defenders all stopped playing and looked to the referee when Riise made his pass. With no whistle from the official and defenders standing flatfooted, Borriello placed the ball past the keeper. Second score Mr. Borriello thank you very much.

The game eventually ended 4-2 to Roma with a late brace coming from Mirko Vucinic. Ten minutes to go Mirko-fantastic is subbed in with the final outcome returned to Roma’s favor as a spoil of all 3 points falls to Vucinic and crew.

Wow incredible, and definitely close shave for coach Ranieri. Everyone who watches the beautiful game in Italy knows leveling the game is one thing, but coming back from behind and winning is yet another.

The Giallorossi showed what they are really capable of when they focus and play as a team. I am still holding onto hopes Vucinic stays with the team after the season. Rumors that he may leave are surfacing, but Vucinic showed why some clubs in England and Germany are looking at him and why Totti is finding it hard to break back into the starting XI. He is one of those players that can make a difference when he is in form. His pace and movement on the flanks and in the goal area creates immense problems for most defensive formations.

Last Match, Sampdoria a Reversal of Fortune

Roma away to Sampdoria was such a disappointment especially after the momentum created by their come from behind winner against Catania.

The team had not been playing well in their away games with only 2 wins on the road prior. Still, Sampdoria have problems too. The Cassanata had moved on to Milan and Sampdoria had not scored a goal in their last 6 hours of playing time.

In the early going Roma took control after Vladimir Koman missed an early chance to put Sampdoria ahead. Vucinic made a fantastic play past Stefano Lucchini which gave him room to score our opening goal.

Playing with more confidence after the lead, the Roma eleven, and Jeremy Menez in particular, started to give Sampdoria’s defense trouble. Added to the attack was a Roma defense which denied Samp forwards a freedom to develop play in the Roman half.

Julio Sergio would blocked a shot snatching the ball in hands to keep Roma in front during final moments before the interval however that last push by Sampdoria looked to be a preview of what they had in store for the second half, in time it would soon be obvious tables had turned in home team’s favor.

I kept thinking this week Roma played a great first half, but in the past they give up the game in the second. This was exactly what ended up happening yet again.

Second half Angelo Palombo took advantage of Juan’s horrible back pass to Julio Sergio, who took Palombo down in the penalty box. There was no question as he was sent off with a red card. Menez was taken off so Doni could take Sergio’s place as keeper. Pozzi took the penalty kick to make the game level again, and ended Samdoria’s goalless drought. Roma playing with 10 men, and with out the creativity of Menez, changed the game. Sampdoria became the more dominant side, and they were hungry for a win. Macheda’s debut almost saw him score the game winning goal, but it went past the post. Then Juan made another defensive mistake. Instead of clearing the ball he tried to control it, and Guberti took a shot at the loose ball to send it into the net. With only 7 minutes of official time Sampdoria were now the leaders. Ranieri brought on Totti, too late in my opinion, as a sub for Greco. Even though two of Sampdoria’s defenders were sent off in the closing minutes of the game, it made no difference as Roma added another defeat to their away record.

A Look Ahead

Even with the loss to Sampdoria Roma are still fourth earned with the Catania victory last Thursday and partly because Juventus were unable to gain a point in their last two outings.

The Giallorossi can ill afford another loss, still 8 points behind Milan, but the Rossoneri are in a flux right now as they integrate new arrivals and say good bye to a certain journeyman (Ronaldinho).

Serie A is very topsy turvy at the moment, yes very competitive but lacking some consistent play all in all by all. Milan could easily slip up, providing a much needed opening for the second to fourth clubs looking to overtake them.

Another away game for Roma looms before team and fans against Cesena. Roma have a chance of moving further up the table and pulling further away from both Palermo and Juventus who stand a point behind in the shadow of our gladiators.

The time is now for Roma players to place inconsistency in the waste bin. The team must begin to regain that well organized at the back with an added touch of attacking destruction character all Romanista have come to love.

With plenty of games left in the season to mount a challenge for the scudetto crown, let’s pray manager Ranieri and captain Totti are on the same page this weekend if not for the survival of their own relationship, for morale and cohesiveness of the rest of the team.

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