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The Magic Forcefield Returns

picresized_1206866854_5a87487bee87bd1c840601c0471e5bd5-getty-fbl-ita-roma-cagliari.jpgCagliari 1 - Roma 1

I wonder how much Matteo Ferrari and his agent think he's worth now. Perhaps a half a euro and a bag of manure? Because that's what his performance was worth, minus the half euro. What I'd really like to know, however, is what the was he planning to do with the ball on that own goal besides try to beat Doni. Or did the ball landing at his foot surprise the hell out of him as he was actually about to enter into a little jig? Just horrible stuff. Where's Samuel Kuffour when you need him?

Scratch that. I'm watching Ajax - Heerenveen right now and Ajax conceded within 2 mins of Sammy K coming on. Whaddya know.

Of course Roma played Cagliari off the pitch for much of the game, and they have nothing to look back on but their own inability to finish (cue image of Bruno Conti checking the bank books and getting immediately on the horn to Amsterdam and Stuttgart). Totti's header was stopped superbly, which was probably the clearest chance on goal they had the entire game. Mexes botched about seven balls in the box which coulda shoulda woulda been game winners. Alberto muffed his back heel. Mancini flew a rocket to the moon, despite it being a difficult shot. Giuly may have had two or three on another day. No finishing. None. In a game which should have been 9-1. The magic forcefield around the goal has returned at precisely the wrong time.

One other factor, which may have not actually been a factor, is the fact that Luciano Spalletti strategerized with one eye looking towards Manchester United on Tuesday. Never ever ever do that. Whether or not Alberto Aquilani would have made The Difference is surely debatable, though he did have two clear scoring chances in his time on the pitch, but karma can come back to bite you in the ass mighty hard when you underestimate the minnows. (The inclusion of Cassetti for Tonetto was another move which surely kept a lazy eye on Tuesday.)

Seriously, that's the first thing you learn in Coaching 101 - don't underestimate anybody. Especially not one which had won 5 of their last 6 at home.


Il Tabellino

CAGLIARI (4-3-2-1):
Storari, Pisano, Lopez, Canini, Agostini; Fini, Cossu (80' Del Grosso), Parola; Foggia (74' Biondini), Jeda; Acquafresca (82' Matri). A disp.: Capecchi, Ferri, Magliocchetti, Larrivey. All. Ballardini

ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni; Cicinho, Mexes, Ferrari, Tonetto (55' Cassetti); Pizarro, Brighi (72' Aquilani); Taddei (80' Esposito), Giuly, Mancini; Totti. A disp: Curci, Panucci, Antunes, Pit. All. Spalletti
ARBITRO: Saccani di Mantova (Lion-Biasutto)

MARCATORI: 2' Ferrari (aut), 45' Totti

NOTE: Allontanato Ballardini, tecnico del Cagliari, per proteste. Ammoniti Tonetto, Pizarro, Cicinho, Cassetti. Recupero 1' pt, 3' st

Player Ratings

He might as well have brought a chaise lounge and Anna Karenina, he had all day to do as he pleased. Not even worth a vote, really.

Cicinho: Is it me or does he fall in love with sending the ball into the box high, failing to realize there are maybe two people on Roma capable of a proper header? He was good. It was Cagliari, the minimum you'd expect. Made a couple nice - and rather unexpected - defensive stops as well. 7

Mexes: If he was a striker he'd get a -12. But he's not, and he was getting into positions CB have no business getting into. Defensively he stuffed nearly everything which came his way, and had to make up for the complete suckitude Ferrari displayed. 7.5

Ferrari: You, sir, can take your boots and walk the fuck outta town. I wouldn't hand you a Primavera contract right about now. (No, I'm not bitter.) -4.5

* - Also, could that be the worst performance from a guy fighting for a big time contract ever? And who wants to speculate he signs with Inter in the summer......

Nice professional foul on Foggia in the first 20. His job was essentially to limit Fogia's impact on the game and work off of Mancini on the left. Did both well, and there were a couple splendid overlaps thrown in. 7

Pizarro: Very good game, unfortunate he didn't score that bullet in the first ten or so. 7.5

Brighi: All I could think while he was out there was "Premiership, Premiership, Premiership". Immense motor, can defend well, but lacked everything else - namely the stuff the Giallorossi are known for. Improved in the second half, but his passing range is about 3 feet and he really didn't fit into the scheme today. 6.5

Mancini: Had an absolute field day with Pisano on the left, and I think he only got taken off the ball once or twice. Hard to blame him on the volley close up simply because the ball had bounced so high that he got under it a bit and skied it into the Mediterranean. Immensely dangerous, even though he was double teamed every time he got the ball; I thought he had a great game and actually gave a shit. 7.5

Seemingly everywhere in the first half, then fell off the face of the earth in the second. Tale of two halves, really. Botched an easy chance on goal when he slipped on the ground following Francesco's sublime through ball. 7

He was good, not great, but good. 7

Free kick was perfect placement, and he spent nearly the entire game grabbing his hamstring, which is quite worrisome with Tuesday looming. I think Cagliari had no less than three men on him for much of the game, yet he was still able to feed his teammates. 7.5

Surely made a difference when he came on. The big hullabaloo is his attempted back-heel on that pass, but he was already flying towards Cagliari's goal with Storari closing down and momentum going the wrong (or right) way. The back of the net was wide open while area in front of him was going to be blocked immediately. Never know. 7

Cassetti: More of the same, but he was ridiculously close to being sent off, which you just can't have in a game like that - especially when Christian Panucci isn't on the field to save the day. 6.5

Esposito: Did a whole lot of nothin' after he came on - though he surely deserved a foul late on there. 6.5

See all those? Good scores. Very good scores. Because Roma played a very good game. But they just couldn't finish, and they had an own goal ruin everything. None of the matchups mattered. Nothing, aside from their inability to finish (and Marco Storari*).

* - Also, Michele Canini, that guy Roma has first option on, looked mighty good as well. Roma will have to act quick, however, as Cellino is leaving June 30th.

Time to start thinking about some reinforcements. Like now.