After surviving a surprisingly tough match in opposition to Bologna final week, Roma confronted a decidedly extra demanding opponent in the present day: second-place AC Milan. Buoyed by Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud, who’ve mixed for 12 objectives and 6 assists in league play, Milan entered in the present day’s match in second place, trailing league-leading Napoli by 5 factors.
Contemplating that Napoli tasted defeat for the primary time all season, Milan supervisor Stefano Pioli opted for lineup continuity in the present day, beginning the identical eleven males who defeated Salernitana final time. With Leao, Giroud, and Sandro Tonali, amongst others, ranging from the phrase go, Milan had greater than sufficient firepower to make fast work of the Giallorossi.
José Mourinho (by proxy because of his suspension) countered with what is basically Roma’s A-team at this level: Paulo Dybala, Nicolo Zaniolo, and Tammy Abraham in assault, supported by Lorenzo Pellegrini, Bryan Cristante, Zeki Celik, and Nicola Zalewski in midfield, with Roger Ibañez, Chris Smalling and Gianluca Mancini doing the soiled work in entrance of Rui Patricio in objective.
After a short second of silence for the just lately departed Gianluca Vialli, the opening whistle sounded because the rain continued to pour down on the San Siro/Giuseppe Meazza pitch. With Milan controlling the opening kickoff, the Rossoneri started working right away, whipping a header Rui Patricio’s method in solely the third minute, with Sandro Tonali’s effort going vast.
Given the moist pitch, the quick relaxation, and the easy proven fact that Milan is the higher membership, it wasn’t shocking to see Roma battle within the opening phases of this match. With Leao and Theo Hernández consuming up house down the left flank and Tonali controlling the midfield, the Giallorossi struggled to seek out their footing early on this match, preferring to place 11 males behind the ball and anticipate counter-attacking alternatives to current themselves.
The issue was these alternatives seldom occurred within the first half. With 20 minutes off the clock, Roma had extra yellow playing cards than makes an attempt on objective (2:1) whereas ceding almost 75% of the ball to Milan—it was anti-football at its greatest or worst, relying in your opinion of Mourinho in the intervening time.
The following 10 minutes had been about as dreadful as we have seen from Roma this season: no route, no sense of urgency, and no outcomes. And, as one would count on it, it promptly bit them within the ass when Milan drew first blood on the half-hour mark.
Pierre Kalulu: thirtieth Minute (Milan 1, Rome 0)
Simply your commonplace setpiece right here, and within the run of play, it seemed like Roma had it fairly properly coated. Nevertheless, upon additional evaluation, you may see Kalulu sneak round Ibañez to steer the diving header previous Patricio, whose parried effort wasn’t sufficient to forestall the objective.
Roma confirmed some faint indicators of life within the closing minutes of the primary half when Zalewski danced round his defender and fired a shot from the sting of the 18 towards the far proper put up, lacking the mark by perhaps half a foot. Dybala would get a crack at objective within the forty fourth minute when he lashed onto a unfastened ball from past 20 yards, solely to see his shot sail vast of the suitable put up.
And that was all she wrote on a disjointed and dispiriting first half from Rome.
With neither membership making any modifications to begin the brand new half, the script remained the identical: Milan would management possession, aiming to put on Roma out within the chase, earlier than breaking the Giallorossi backline with fast diagonal passing. For his or her half, the capital membership was content material to take a seat again and anticipate the match to unfold of their favor.
Now, to their credit score, Roma performed with a larger sense of urgency to begin the half, urgent Milan increased up the pitch and even profitable possession within the Rossoneri remaining third however nonetheless spent most of their power chasing the lads in black.
Regardless of these early alerts of intent, it wasn’t lengthy earlier than Roma retreated into their passive first-half method. By means of 60 minutes, Roma noticed solely 32% of the ball, managing a meager 4 makes an attempt on objective, all of which got here from past the 18-yard field, with all 4 efforts lacking the mark.
With Roma caught within the mud, the membership made their first change of the match, bringing Nemanja Matíc and Benjamin Tahirovic into the match rather than Cristante and Zaniolo, bulking up the Giallorossi midfield for the stretch run.
However Milan would quickly put Roma out of their distress…, or so it appeared.
Tommaso Pobega: 77th Minute (Milan 2, Rome 0)
Sensing desperation, Roma continued to press Milan increased up the pitch, however the defending champions made them pay when Tommaso Pobega transformed within the 77th minute with a intelligent left-footer, placing tonight’s outcomes past all doubt, if it ever was, to start with .
Ah, however not so quick!
Roger Ibanez: 87th Minute (Milan 2, Rome 1)
Roma would make issues fascinating within the waning moments when Ibañez powered a header previous Milan keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu off a setpiece, giving the Giallorossi a late lifeline. In line with this season’s theme, when Roma struggles within the run of play, they’ll at all times rely on setpieces, and this was no exception as Pellegrini put this ball on a platter for Ibañez.
However they weren’t completed but. With Roma struggling all evening lengthy, Ibañez’s objective, as thrilling because it was, may have shortly turn into nothing greater than a footnote in a 2-1 defeat to Milan however the capital membership struck final, stealing some extent deep in stoppage time.
Tammy Abraham: 93rd Minute (Milan 2, Rome 2)
With little greater than two minutes on the clock, Pellegrini whipped a free kick in direction of the close to proper put up, discovering a streaking Matic in stride for a free header. Whereas Tatarusanu initially thwarted Matic’s header, the rebound fell proper to Abraham, who lashed his lengthy proper leg on the ball as Diaz was tugging at his shirt, burying the ball at the back of the online, silencing the San Siro within the course of.
Do not get it twisted: Roma was dreadful tonight, managing solely six photographs in common time. Nevertheless, as soon as the clock moved into stoppage time, Rome got here to life, passing, urgent, and shifting with extra vigor than at any level within the prior 90 minutes. Actually, all three of Roma’s on-target makes an attempt got here in stoppage time, two beating Tatarusanu to earn a barely-needed level for the Giallorossi.
It wasn’t fairly, however Roma rose to the event when it mattered most, although it did not make this match any simpler to digest!
Roma faces Genoa within the Coppa Italia on Thursday.
Man of the match?
Anybody in a Milan shirt for the primary 86 minutes
307 whole votes