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Julian De Martinis On February - 8 - 2011

One Point From Two But Roman Courage Shines Through

The second that Wesley Sneijder scored that first goal for Inter- as it turned out, it was a rather early second, in the third minute of the game- it seemed like it could be a long night for Roma. Most importantly, the goal was betraying the script that should have been followed. The scene had already been set: this was classic Roma, tying one all with Brescia earlier in the week, forever dropping points to lower sides. However, there are two Romas in Serie A: the one that chokes against the likes of Bari and the one that’s taken perfect points from Inter, Milan, and Lazio so far this season. Giant killing Roma was supposed to follow relegation-fodder Roma on Sunday. Someone, however, seemingly forgot to give Sneijder that script.

With all due respect to the Roma defense, however, that certain shot was unsaveable. Wesley had gone nearly a year without scoring in the league but then turned up to score a second in his past two games- two shots out of nearly seventy all season that had gone in. For all of the defensive frailties on display throughout the night, the Roma defense could do little but watch the rocket sail into the net (Although it was nearly suicidal to leave a dead ball specialist with so much time on the ball). Serie A sides were supposed to be defensive and boring, no? Yet another memo that was forgotten- the game from then on became a full scale advertisement for the Italian league, full of goals, cards, and attacking flair.

Fabio Simplicio quickly levelled  ten minutes later, after Marco Cassetti lay in a perfect ball that left Julio Cesar in no man’s land. Cesar however would ultimately atone for his mistake thrice over, unleashing a furry of parries to deny Borriello and Menez later in the game. Samuel Eto was able to capitalize on a goalkeeping blunder from Roma’s own Sergio, who reacted far too slowly to a low angled shot that found its way into the net. Two one to Inter, and the game was fully alive.

Both sides could have scored more, and it is nearly impossible to say which way the game would have gone up until Pazzini decided to make himself a nuisance up front. Charging past a sleepy Roma defense, Nicolas Burdisso had no choice but to take him down in the box, earning a red card and a rigore for the nerazzurri. Eto stepped up and converted the penalty, and within eight minutes Thiago Motta put Inter four goals up against Roma. It seemed as if all was lost for the giallorossi, a man down and three goals away from a tie.

However, these are Romans after all. Seeking out their inner gladiators, Ranieri’s side came out determined as ever in an awe-inspiring voyage for parity. Mirko Vucinic re-directed a De Rossi freekick to bring the deficit to within two- and suddenly, Roma did not attack like they had ten men anymore. After a series of risky forays a corner was won, which Simone Loria- of all people, the oft-hated substitute- forced into the net. With nine minutes to go, Roma suddenly only needed one goal to tie and had seemingly all the momentum.

Unfortunately, there was no fairy tale finish. Esteban Cambiasso scored Inter’s fifth in the 90th, perhaps inevitably given the amount of energy Roma was forced to exert in order to gain yet another goal with only ten men. However, instead of crushing disappointment, pride filled the chests of all Romanisti who watched. One point from two games hardly seems worth celebrating, especially with Roma now slipping to seventh in the league. However, Roma put on a valiant effort and were able to nearly secure an improbably tie against the reigning treble holders. Leonardo has much thinking to do if he believes that such a porous defense will win him anything of note.

As for Roma, the next two games could well define their season. Napoli loom on the horizon, a monstrous ship against which the likes of Simone Loria- yes, him again- will have to fill in for the suspended Mexes and Burdisso. And midweek sees the return of the Champions’ League, in a tie against Shaktar Donetsk at home. Should Roma win both of these games, as well as their game in hand against Bologna, perhaps soon to be owner Di Benedetto will have something good to say about the team after all.

Julian De Martinis

Calcio, Azzurri, and Roma tifosi. Blogger, correspondent, podcast host (@LaMagicast). Lover of books, movies, wordplay, family, and a good cappuccino.

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6 Responses so far.

  1. dielle says:

    I don’t know if I felt proud. certainly it was an entertaining game and the players (at least Borriello) enjoyed it!

  2. SpanglyPrincess says:

    proud? I wish. Fed up, heart-sick, disillusioned, irritated, exhausted, grumpy and cross, more like.

  3. Julian D says:

    Proud was the most apropos word, I believe, to describe how it felt to see the players try so valiantly even at a man- and three goals- down. The result itself is nothing to write home about, but the fightback certainly seems to be.

  4. Anthony says:

    typical roma…always proud to be second best!

  5. Jay says:

    I think that Napoli will be an even tougher match with Burdisso and Mexes out. The team can sometimes do with out one, but not both.

    • Julian D says:

      Latest reports say that Cassetti will partner Juan in the center of defense, with Rosi as RB. There were rumors that Loria would play, or even DDR as a centerback, but it seems that Cassetti will instead shift into the middle. Not really confidence inspiring.

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