This is the team that can, on any given day, beat any team in Europe. When even the JV can look all kinds of stellar. That was just an awesome performance, and though the team let up a little bit in the second half (as they've been known to do), that was just complete domination and they looked as though they were almost creating chances at will. Sure, a legless monkey could've walked the ball through that defense, but what's more indicative is that we've seen this Roma before, and against much better teams with a full lineup. Roma was missing 4 of the cannons and still put up a 4 spot in shitty weather in Kyiv in late-November. That, my friends, is a statement performance. After two months of squeaking by and relative mediocrity compared to earlier performances, the Roma that started out the season eliciting praise from all corners of the globe appears to be back, and none too soon.
The day started off with - now sit down because this is gonna be a shocker - an injury. This time it's Matteo Brighi who becomes the latest Roman resident to catch some sort of debilitating disease. Luckily, the center of the pitch filled in adequately (who knew Matteo would need a backup - yeesh), and he wasn't really missed all that much.
Hero for the day was none other than Vucigol, who looked right at home in eastern Europe scoring two, maybe three goals. Not only was he scoring goals, he was easily the most dangerous player on the pitch and it appeared as though he'd borrowed Il Capitano's gilded boots, as if the ball turned gold every time he took it. Earlier this week there were reports of him being compared to Zlatan. Initially I scoffed because he doesn't appear to have the level of abilities that Zlatan has at his size, but I may just have to rethink it (and anyways, the new Zlatan is Nicklas Bendtner - seriously, watch a couple back-to-back youtube clips with the two, it's uncanny). What a game. Brilliant. Just @#$%ing brilliant.
Rosella had some kind words for Vuci:
"Vucinic is excellent, but can still improve and who knows, one day, be better than Zlatan Ibrahimovic."
And of course, the red hot poker that is Christian Panucci scored that first goal that was flip-flopped between he and Vucigol, ultimately ending up on the scoredboard as OMR. How many times in his career do you suspect Christian has scored 3 games in a row? I'm going to go with none. And it's nice to know Francesco has finally been replace in the lineup by the two-headed monster that is: Vucinucci. (Rolls of the tongue, doesn't it?)
Oh yeah, Roma's through to the knockouts as the second seed in Group F. ManYoo has zero pragmatic meaning.
Dinamo Kiev (4-4-1-1): 55 Rybka, 98 Dopilka, 32 Gavrancic, 27 Vaschuk, 26 Nesmachniy; 20 Gusev, 36 Ninkovic (9' st 16 Shatskikh), 4 Ghioane, 14 Rotan (1' st 8 Belkevich), 15 Rincon (23' st 25 Milewsky), 10 Bangoura.
A disposizione: 23 Lutsenko, 2 Fedorov, 19 Kravets, 81 Markovic.
Roma (4-2-3-1): 32 Doni, 2 Panucci, 21 Ferrari, 4 Juan, 77 Cassetti, 16 De Rossi (14' st Barusso), 7 Pizarro; 11 Taddei (1' st 18 Esposito), 14 Giuly, 22 Tonetto; 9 Vucinic (39' st 3 Cicinho).
A disposizione: 1 Curci, 15 Antunes, 26 Pit, 30 Mancini.
Arbitro: Stark (GER)
Guardalinee: Jan-Hendrik Salver (Ger), Mike Pickel (Ger)
Quarto uomo: Babak Rafati (Ger)
Marcatori: al 4' Panucci, 32' Giuly, al 33' e al 30' st Vucinic, al 19' st Bangoura.
NOTE: ammonito al 27' st Vaschuk per gioco falloso, al 41' st Cassetti per intemperanze.
Please forgive my red & yellow tinted perspective as I'm still elated over the performance today, and I was much too excited watching to pay attention to many of the particulars.
Doni: A good, solid game in tough conditions, without any heart attacks. Nothing he could've done about that goal. 7
Old Man River: He was flying up and down that wing so often I thought he was a winger. Fantantic game from OMR, even though that goal was more on the goalie than anything else. Missed another sitter (a header at the far post....again), which seems to happen once a game now, but how can you complain if he puts one in the back anyway? Always nice to have a goal a game from your 34 year old fullback. 7.5
J-Smooth: Mostly at fault for the goal in trying to get a ball he was never going to get, but altogether a decent game. And did you see some of those solo runs through the midfield? He looked like a born attacker. I love my defenders with an identity crisis. 7
Ferrari: Pretty damn decent and lost a little bit of that "deer in headlights" look when he was called upon to do something important. More of that will be nice to see. 7
Cassetti: Fabulous tackle on the goal that led to Lulu Gulu's 1 v 1 with the keeper, and if you asked him, I'm sure he'd say that was his intention all along. Somehow, someway, he has become one of the more valued players on the team this year. A 2m very well spent. 7.5
DDR: Only played 2/3 of the game, but his defense was just awesome. Makes tackles he has no business making. 7.5
Little David: Easily his best game this season. Unfortunately, his great play didn't really result in anything. I was waiting for a Dynamo defender to just reach over and slap him in the face as he pulled the same move on them over and over and over. More of that will is welcome. 7.5
Barusso: If that was any barometer for the future, I cannot wait for this kid to get a couple years under his belt. No, he wasn't fantastic, but his skills are evident and someday those will translate into production. His passing always seems to improve, even though it was far from perfect, and he'll fit in a lot better to this system than originally thought.7
Taddei: First game in about two months and that's exactly what it looked like. N/A
Espo: Looked dangerous, but didn't really produce much in his longest outing in the shirt yet. Still, it always appears the longer he's on the pitch, the more effective and comfortable is. Hopefully he gets to gel with the team more and more as time goes along and his game progresses accordingly. Also, it was good of TGIP to get him some extended pitch time against a team that couldn't defend the common cold, presumably in hopes of getting his confidence up. 6.5
Giuly: If not for Vucigol's magic, he's your MOTM. In fact, he played a large part in Mirko's magic and these two appear to have formed a nice little duo. Their passing and chemistry is in tune and they appear to really feed of one another well. Moreso, I like him in the center of the pitch more than I do out on the wing. His runs attempting to beat the offside trap are nice, but he seems a little more effective with the ball at his feet and more bodies to work with. Not that I'm hoping to see too much of it, as it'd mean Simone is out, but it's a nice alternative. 8
Also an 8 for his midget hug with Pizarro. Priceless stuff.
Tonetto: Not a fan of the Max at wing thing, but a beatiful pass back to Vucinic on the goal and there are certainly worse options for the position. 6.5
Vucigol: Superstud. That's all. Superstud. 8
Cicinho: I just can't see OMR sitting this weekend. Methinks Cicinho is about to become a very unhappy camper. N/A
TGIP: I liked the lineup considering the circumstances, although we're still waiting to see the one fullback at wing experiment abandoned, and though his subs were pretty on target, though both Taddei and DDR appeared to be either pre-determined, preventive, or due to a minor knock. Still, kudos for getting Ahmed and Mauro some extended pitch time, even though the list of options wasn't exactly long. 7.5
* - Scratch that, he gets a farkin 10 for putting the entire Oompa Loompa brigade out on the pitch at the same time.
Black Unis: I love em, wish they'd incorporate them somehow into the domestic scene. 8
Roma v Jupiter: There was no snow, though the weather was still cold, wet and crappy. Still, it didn't stop The Roma Show for running rampant. Winner: Roma
Back Line v Ismael Bangoura: Bangoura was their most dangerous attacker throughout the game, but was foiled on most occasions, except for the goal. Certainly the damage could've been worse, and they at least contained him. Winner: Push
Creation v Dynamo’s Swiss Cheese D, Missing Some Cheese: This one was ugly, real ugly. There's a reason why Dynamo has conceded 16 goals in 5 games so far. Winner: Creation
The Front Line v The Extra Pass: There were still a few moments where they went for the extra pass instead of firing it on goal against a keeper who was clearly wasn't up to par. Two noticeable instances were a Max extra pass and when Vucigol tried to send it back in to a double-covered Lulu Gulu when the shot was there for the taking, and with his golden shoes on to boot. Little too superfluous still, could have been 5 or 6. Winner: The extra shot.
Butterfingers Donieber v The Elements: Somehow, he managed to fend off the dark forces that are Bad Doni and play a pretty good game. More of that this weekend, please. Winner: Doni
MOTM: Vucigol, ten times out of ten.
Now it's off to concentrate on getting everybody back for the huge game against Udinese on Sunday. Confidence must be running high, couldn't ask for more. (Actually, how about some of you get healthy, yeah?)