So much of what transpired Wednesday could simply be brought over from reviewing Sunday:
- Excellent first half; lackadaisical second half.
- Sublime defending at times.
- The regista slot becoming the official barometer for the play of the midfield.
- Alessandro Florenzi appearing to recapture his September form.
The difference, arguably, was the signing of Vasilis Torosidis. No, he didn't play, but signing another gent who plays rightback apparently put Ivan Piris' arse into high gear, as he sent in two scintillating crosses to the heads of Florenzi and Mattia Destro. For their contributions, see the scoreline.
So there's you answer to all of Roma's problems: bring in one piece of competition before every match, and watch the player whose spot is challenged light it up. It may be a touch expensive, but hey, nobody said victory comes cheap.
The remainder equal parts decent and indecent, the latter when Destro got near the "pole" he loves so damn much, obviously. They played well, particularly in the first half, and the right-hand side of Marquinhos and Piris was absolutely lights out much of the first half, but they were once again felled by Rodrigo Palacio close to the whistle. That seems a touch of the old mental problem which has befallen Roma since, well, ever. DNA's just tough to change, I guess, even when you change every damn thing about the club save for Francesco Totti on the day. (Shaddup.)
The second leg/half is on April 17th. It's not an ideal result - squeaking out a clean sheet would've been nice - but it's a solid one and there are to be no complaints when the opposition only holds one away goal and the coach at hand is one Zdenek Zeman.
One away goal. Please. They can put three up in a decent five minute stretch at the San Siro.
- Every single time Destro notches one home, a little part of me jumps in glee, because it might means he's simply a little closer to becoming a finished/finishing product. The day he begins finishing with regularity is the day Roma has Serie A's premier all-around striker. Yeah, said it.
He is just such a phenomenal talent, and though Osvaldo may be the more solid "right now" choice, it's hard not to want to watch Destro get every chance imaginable. What other true striker can make those runs through the midfield and defense?
- With every brilliant match Marquinhos plays, it appears his exit is one closer. If true that clubs are offering 28-30m for him now, we are looking at a 40-50m defender before he turns 20. Defender.
There's a lot of talk about appreciating Totti while he's still here, but the same can probably be said for Marquinhos. One can only say "No, go away." for so long... (Giggity?)
- The days Taxi brings his good, err, tires? are wonderful. He is certainly the best fit for that regista spot, if he's not the best player. In Zeman's system, the ability to fill the role does often supersede the quality of the part.
However, maybe someone should have a talk with him about attempting to make solo runs down the flanks through multiple defenders. Rally cars don't enter into street races, and Louis C.K. doesn't attempt to do Shakespeare. Know your role.
- Maarten had a good game, but again: the job was neither won nor lost on the day. This situation is unlikely to change for awhile.
Unless it does, at which point several places will go into complete meltdown.