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Sister Kissing & Redundant Disappointment

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27593.jpgFiorentina 2 - Roma 2

Game Recap/Liveblog/Running Diary/Shit that went down here

Once again Roma had 3 points in the bag and once again they left with a disappointing draw. Now, a draw with Fiorentina in Firenze is never a bad result, especially for a team as sneaky good as this current Viola squad and without the services of one Francesco Totti. However, Roma had this game, just two stupid decisions led to the equalizing goal, and a new hatred from this guy of all things Adrian Mutu (who, if he was merely mediocre in the final 20, would've had about 7 goals today). The first Viola goal was a result of DDR's inability to properly clear the ball and subsequently preventing Doni from getting his mitts on the sphere, with the ball eventually landing on Alessandro Gamberini's foot. It happens, and it won't be the last time this season.

The second goal was the dagger in the hearts of Roma fans all across the globe. Well, maybe that's a tad melodramatic, but it feels as much after the 87th minute goal from the cheaters sealed yet another dropped double. Matteo Ferrari was obviously to blame for taking down Bobo Vieri when there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell of Bobo dribbling around a fucking fire hydrant, nevermind a Serie A defender. However, the part that upset most of the fans was David Pizarro perfectly placing yet another pass on the foot of a Fiorentina player, resulting in the counter attack which forced Matteo to be out of position and make a stupid stupid tackle. I'll be kind to David, but for every counterattack he starts, he causes another.

The two Roma goals were sublime, each preceded by cheeky passing and a deft dummy. Mancini's cucchiaio was ingenious, with Sebastian Frey a little too far off his line and the ball lofted just past his fingertips into the back of the net. For a team with finishing issues, Mancini's goal was a real breath of fresh air. The second was more of the same, beautiful football in all its glory, with similar buildup, but Giuly one-timing a hard shot past Frey. However, that would be the last chance anyone had for celebration, because Frey morphed into the Incredible Hulk, channeled his inner Gigi Buffon and completely taking Roma out of the back of the net, and the game.

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All in all, it was a good game missing key players in tough conditions (pouring rain) against a very good team. Certainly no time for overreacting as it was a good performance and a good result (lots of goodness going around), and there is no doubt Fiorentina deserved a result, because therew ere times when they really took it to Roma and set up shop in and around Donieber. On the other hand, one must start to wonder about Roma's inability to slam the door shut on teams that it has largely beaten. The Finisher - Francesco - was missing, but that's no excuse, as there are a plethora of high-class options to put the ball in the back of the net. I suppose when this 5 game gauntlet is over we'll have to assess all of the games collectively, but it's certainly something to watch out for over the next week.

Standings


1. Roma 3-0-2 11pts (+7)

2. Inter 3-0-2 11pts (+7)
3. Juventus* 3-1-1 10pts (+8)
4. Napoli 3-1-1 10pts (+6)
5. Palermo 3-1-1 10pts (+2)
6. Fiorentina 2-0-3 9pts (+3)
7. Atalanta 2-0-3 9pts (+3)
8. Udinese 2-21 7pts (-2)
9. Milan 1-1-3 6pts (+2) Ouch, below a team with a negative goal differential.

Anytime I type Juventus in this column from here on out, it will have an asterisk right next to it. Self-explanatory.

Also, the good part about all this is if Roma can at least maintain against Inter, then the rest of the schedule is looking very juicy. Napoli and Parma will be relative breathers from this current 5 game stretch, while Lazio and Milan just look fucking terrible thus far. It's starting to look as if things aren't all that bad. Think about it, if Roma can stay within even a few points of the top spot, then they have Serie A's lesser half to look forward to until the campaign switches up, while most still have a few big games ahead of them...and I'm starting to think getting that Palermo game in Sicily out of the way while grabbing the full 3 early is going to become very important as the season goes on.

Box Score

(Thieved from romanews.eu)

Fiorentina (4-3-3): Frey, Ujfalusi, Gamberini, Dainelli (31' st Balzaretti), Pasqual, Donadel, Liverani (1' st Santana), Montolivo, Semioli (26' st Vieri), Pazzini, Mutu. A disp. Lupatelli, Kroldrup, Gobbi, Kuzmanovic. All.: Prandelli

Roma (4-2-3-1): Doni, Cicinho (40' st Esposito), Mexes, Ferrari, Tonetto, De Rossi, Pizarro, Taddei (35' Aquilani), Giuly, Mancini (20' st Panucci), Vucinic. A disp. Curci, Juan, Barusso, Brighi, Esposito. All.: Spalletti

MARCATORI: al 18' Mancini, al 21' Gamberini, al 36' Giuly, 34' st Mutu su rigore

NOTE: ammoniti al 15' Mexes, al 34' st Ferrari e al 45' st Montolivo per gioco falloso, al 30' st Mutu per gioco scorretto. Espulso al 38' st Donadel per doppia ammonizione.

Scores
(6-8)

Doni:
The first goal was not his fault, nor was the second. Was not out of position much, and made some game saving, well, saves, but that little dribble in the box scared the living shite out of me. Vintage Doni. 7.5

Cicinho:
The Brazilian Pocket Rocket hasn't shined, but has been very solid and composed in a new system, which may be exactly why he hasn't let loose yet. Still haven't seen those patented bursts of speed and tantalizing runs, so maybe there is something going on behind the scenes. Still, an improvement over his debut, and that's all we can ask for at this point. 7

Mexes: The Philou we all know and love was back. Playing as well as he did with an early yellow on a very very very very very questionable call and Inter up ahead this weekend was really commendable. It would be easy for him to cower back, fearful of a second yellow and allow Fiorentina to take control, but he didn't. He's got one foot in the "Elite" door. Just don't tell Raymond Domenech. 7.5

Ferrari: This is what you get for timing your tackle with an hour glass. Really took two points away with that horrible tackle. Certainly has us yearning for Juan as well, but it was pretty much his debut this season, hard to fault him after the layoff and injury. But for the penalty? Let's hope there's nothing reminiscent of that for the rest of the year. Poor judgment. 6

Tonetto: Vintage Max...again. Didn't have the glaring presence that he had in the Juve game, but was still solid, dependable, and made some good runs, although a few of his crosses came from watching too man Massimo Oddo tapes. 7

De Rossi: A poor clearance on the first goal, but did well in cleaning up and "maintaining" the midfield, despite his partner donating to his favorite purple charity all game long. The tackle on Riccardo Montolivo where he came all the way back from the Fiorentina half to take it on a textbook slide tackle at the 20 yard mark was exquisite and really a miscroscopic example of what DDR means to this team. My play of the day. And against 18 other teams, that free kick is the deciding goal. 7

Pizarro: Like I said, I'll be kind, but outside of a few possession-keeping dribbles, the shot and one long ball to Mirko, he was really useless. Had at least 5 passes placed directly to the foot of a purple shirt in the first half alone - amongst others which were sent to absolutely no one - and the ball in the second half which set up the counter attack that led to the penalty was very poor. Improved in the second half, but nearly not enough. Obviously it's his first real game and he's out of form, but let's hope he's given a firm spot on the bench for the next two games. 6.5

Scratch that, he gets a -6.5 for whatever the hell he's doing in this picture. No wonder he was short on that pass that led to the counter attack. Weak legs and poor stamina. Where's Cialis when you need it? Though at least it's good to see team morale is at an all-time high.

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Aquilani: Came on in the 35th minute for Taddei and his talent was evident immediately in the trequartista position. Apparently each opposing defense has seen those Palermo and Siena highlight clips, because he gets closed down immediately every single time, but he readjusts well and has obviously learned a thing or two from the locker room's Brazilian contingent. His play with Mancini and Giuly was very easy on the eye. 7.5

Giuly: Great goal, phenomenal dummy, fantastic creation and his presence was evident throughout, although more so in the first 35 because he was so involved in the middle of the pitch. Also, nice to see some finishing from anyone outside of Francesco, especially from Lulu. (Yeah, I've completely turned the corner) 7.5

Mancini: I wasn't so much impressed with the goal as I was how quickly he saw that Frey was off the line and knew immediately to scoop it over him. That's not exactly a common or easy shot, and he lofted it perfectly. Actually, if you look at it closely enough, you'll see that Mancini had his head down while Frey was still rushing out, knowing he would be closing down the angle, and place the ball before Frey was actually far enough off the line to warrant a spoon. Great stuff. World-class Mancini is back, although he still isn't being allowed past the hour mark, give or take 5 minutes. Aside from the goal, he formed the appealing tridente with Lulu and Mirko before king Alberto joined the fun. 7.5

Vucinic: Totti was missed, that much was clear. Mirko was able to create his chances and find space, but either his shot wasn't adequate enough or Frey locked him down. Also, for some odd reason felt it prudent to spend the majority of the game like he was on the front lawn with a Slip 'n Slide. 9.5 for the belly flops, 7 for the game.

Panucci: Old Man River was solid, as usual, and put some lovely balls into the box. Only played a half hour, but gave Roma some real chances to make something happen and a reassuring influence along the back four. 7.5

Esposito: Touched the ball maybe twice, but that was some nice 1v1 work at the end of the game. I'd absolutely like to see more of him. I

Taddei:
The injury may be a blessing in disguise, not much to speak of while he was on the pitch, and could surely use some rest. I

(I know, I'm being a tad generous today)

Matchups

Cicinho v Adrian Mutu: For the majority of the game it was Cicinho taking on the dirty bastard, and did so adequately considering his defense isn't all that wonderful. Mutu got quite a few chances, but the winner was Cicinho for two reasons: a) stuffing Mutu in the 6 yard box with a wide open goal, surely preventing a score, and b) that obviously intentional elbow for which Mutu was only given a yellow, and for which he may very well may receive a nice seat in the stands. Winner: Cicinho

Cesare Prandelli v Luciano Spalletti: Prands fielded a pretty standard lineup with most of the big boys, but Spalletti didn't and rotated in a few new faces while having to deal with Taddei's injury and switching up positions with various players throughout the game. Bobo and Santana were brought on for obvious reasons and Balzaretti gave a different tactical look, but there weren't exactly any revelations. As for TGIP, bringing on your best player on the bench (and top 5 on the club) when a starter goes down is obvious. Panucci was brought in to add a quality defender to the back line and hard to blame him for that, but I wish he would use his 3rd substitute earlier, especially in this string of games. Nevertheless, Spalletti did more with less. Winner: TGIP

Doni v Sebastian Frey:
Doni was fairly good, but Frey was phenomenal. The only reason the scoreline wasn't 4-2 or 5-2. Luckily, Roma is done with Serie A's two best keepers until mid-winter (that's right, I said it - even if the gap between first and second is cavernous). Winner: Frey

Roma v The Magnetic Forcefield Around The Goal:
The forcefield was knocked down, but Frey took up residence. Roma just can't win. But at least they were on target, which is a good sign for upcoming games. Just had the entire fucking French Foreign Legion in the way. Winner: Roma

David Pizarro v Riccardo Montolivo:
The expected mismatch was just that. Lucky for Roma, Montolivo's shots were dangerous, but not on target. But good God would somebody learn to lock him down before the game at the Olimpico rolls around. Kid's a hell of a talent. Winner: Montolivo

MOTM:
Sebastian Frey, easily.

Roman MOTM: Mancini

Next up: Battle for first, Inter at the Olimpico, and quite possibly the return of What's-His-Nuts.

Highlights:

And I fucking hate Adrian Mutu now. That is all.