Totti Tuesday: The cut

Paolo Bruno

Roman derbies are usually as unpredictable as Loria’s dribbling or Gervinho’s cerebral workings but Sunday’s derby had only one outcome written in the stars above the Peninsula: A win from the red part of the city. Blue was never an option.

Tears, now and then

Reasons? More chances and more possession (especially in the second half) but unfortunately also more dumb decision-making from our players in the final third. They professionally killed every opportunity to take the lead while Lazio never dominated large parts of the game or seemed to walk over Roma. I don’t know if it was the stress, atmosphere or just a bad, unlucky day but I hope they don’t make a habbit out of it.

Allow me to paraphrase Eurosport.com after the final whistle:
It's full time, and it's 0-0 between the two teams. It was far from a dull game, and Roma had by far more chances to win it, and although they won't slip any further behind Juventus, this will be a huge missed opportunity for them. They had a real chance to gain ground on the Bianconeri today, and Antonio Conte's men simply don't give up two goal leads every week.

That last sentence cuts through every Giallorosso heart. This was maybe THE opportunity to catch up on Juve, who couldn’t manage what Roma did some weeks ago: win at Hellas Verona. Hellas equalised in the 90th minute and did Serie A a favor, keeping the title race (sort of) exciting. A draw isn’t the end of the world, we still hold the bragging rights from the earlier fixture (quick recap: 2-0, Balzaretti’s tears and flexed muscles, football porn, sounds about it). A derby remains an atypical match and despite Roma’s list of missed chances, Lazio could have grabbed the three points in the end as well if they countered more efficiently. Kudos for the Giallorossi though, they had a demanding 90 minutes in the legs against Napoli while Lazyo got the entire week to prepare and rest. The fact that Roma, and not Lazio, still went for the win until the very end puts a (albeit small) smile on my face. This was also an ‘away’ game so the collateral damage is kept at minimum here. For now.The final standings in May will reveal if this was indeed a golden point or a very very sour draw.

Coppa craziness

After ZZ (Zeman) and AA (Andreazzoli), one of RR’s (Rudi’s Roma) main characteristics is that they need a tonload of chances before they score. Most of the times they create a lot but there’s more than often an invisible wall blocking their path as well. It usually goes two ways: Either they bang in quite a few nonetheless (Bologna, Genoa, Catania, Livorno) or they fail (Atalanta, Lazio, Cagliari). Gervinho has recently proven his worth and has shown qualities no one else on our team has but boy does he need a ton of chances to finally hit it right. I also felt a bit annoyed with Totti, blasting over shot after shot. It seemed he desperately wanted to score against our rivals but even if the match lasted 300 minutes longer, no way he would’ve buried one on Sunday. Nothing to do with his qualities of course but simply form and luck of the day. Same with dead ball situations: Roma received twenty free kicks and six corners, you simply have to take benefit of one of those with all the aerial threat at our disposal (Benatia, Castan, Strootman, Daniele).

Lucikly, we don’t have much time to grief about the past. I even dare to say Wednesday is more important than Lazio (blasphemy in Church, I know). Roma-Napoli was a hugely entertaining game, I expect more of the same tomorrow. The 3-2 score of the first game means this can go either way. The San Paolo is a hostile environment, blue is a horrible color, things are gonna get ugly but with the right mindset, this group of players can succeed and progress to the Coppa final for the second year in a row. Key is to keep calm, wait for the right moment, take advantage. Chances will arrive sooner or later if they play it smart. Then they only need to bury one of them. Sounds a lot easier than you think after Sunday though.

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