Sampdoria 2 - Roma 2
Sometimes it just doesn't pay to play the games.
But at least the team has evolved from the beginning of the year. Then it was only horrible results and devastating repercussions. Now it's good results, all things considered, and devastating repercussions. So that's something, right?
A win against a resurgent Sampdoria Giampaolo Pazzini at home was always unlikely and a draw is something The Grand Imperial Poobah surely packed happily into his luggage for the trek home. Matters were dire the moment Wednesday's Arsenal fixture ended and they were only compounded when a team down by a goal with no legs left were idiotically relegated to ten men with more than a half hour remaining. To magically unearth a point from the mountainous rubble? Unthinkable.
As for Motta, that was his first big cock up since joining the side. Yes, he's been beaten at times and not every decision has been perfect, but that was the first utterly idiotic move. Not because he'd been reckless much of the game - partially a result of Sampdoria actively trying to get him sent off, something they were both right and smart to do - but because he'd been reckless without thinking two moves ahead. The red hurt inside the Marassi, no doubt, but not nearly as much as it'll hurt against Juventus, when they desperately need healthy bodies, particularly so in defense.
The other monumental cock up came from a man quite familiar with the feeling, Alexander Doni. Cassano's ball on the first goal was simply top drawer footballing, the type of stuff strikers write home about on tear-stained papyrus, but Doni somehow managed to trump it with his silver-platter service on the second goal. Maybe it was just his way of sticking it to Italia's ultimate enfant terrible. 'Anything you can do I can do better' oneupsmanship, I guess.
While most would probably give it to Julio Baptista, two things about his goals stand out: one was a penalty and the other a ball which any ambulatory person alive finishes - except Simone Perrotta, who skies that into deck two on a good day, deck three on a bad (and you'll notice the Luigi Ferraris doesn't have a third deck at the ends). Nice that he got two goals, but pretty sure most on the pitch, not to mention those in nursing homes, score both.
Which means man of the match goes to.....
Doni. Yes, it was a monumental faux pas, but when the tired legs showed at the end he threw the entire team on his back and ushered them to the purgatory land. Without him it's 1-1 at half time but 3-2 Samp at full time.
Extra special mention - if not co-MOTM status - to Max Tonetto for whipping in that early cross which was impossible not to finish without a lifetime of ridicule while also winning the penalty for Julio to power home. So technically that's two dimes for the makeshift midfielder.
The Juventus section (below) was done before player ratings and it was so depressing I decided to eschew player ratings.
- Hey, this Cassano guy is alright.
- It's always nice to see zealous young Primavera kids get their debut, but I thought we saw with Alessandro Crescenzi just why it doesn't happen very often. Full of energy, but perhaps too much. Absolutely stonewalled trying to dribble through Samp's midfielder and pushed up as though he was playing on the far right of a tridente when he's a defender. Had he been on much longer, Samp would've figured him out and laid waste to that right flank - as though Cassano needed any more help. Solid talent, but the tactical know-how and decision making is lacking, as is the case for most fresh off the Primavera boat.
- I don't think it would've changed much - the legs simply weren't there - but Samp really, really got away with one when Lucchini was shown yellow for the penalty on Max when the actual guilty party was Padalino, already sitting on a yellow, thus confirming something most in Italy already know: Roberto Rosetti is an absolutely rubbish referee.
And it wasn't just this instance, either, it was the whole game in which the officiating was dire. He lost control from about the twentieth minute on and from there forward it was downhill. If he ever officiates another Roma game it'll be far too soon.
- Luciano's got style, but nobody, absolutely nobody, needs to rock two scarves when it's 65 goddamn degrees. Even in the most frigid of conditions that's toeing the line.
- Two things need to happen re: Baptista:
i. He needs to play 38 fixtures a year against Sampdoria. It's just that simple.
ii. Spalletti needs to devise a tactical system in which ten players scheme to work the ball into situations where Julio's only option is to put the ball on net with his right foot within 25 yards. Just not against Arsenal. The man is quite obviously lacking in a few areas - touch of marble, vision of a mole, etc. - but there's no doubt his right foot is world class. The first goal was a gimme, but there was never any doubt about that penalty. If it wasn't by Castellazzi it was through.
- Menez has done nothing of note on the pitch since growing out that gawdaful hair. 1+1=...
- One last thing: Spalletti deserves zero blame for the draw. Absolutely none. Motta was begging for a red but who was going to come in? Loria? His confidence is beyond shot and he'd be lucky to get into a U12 girls team right now. Crescenzi? Samp would've eaten him alive over the course of a half hour. Ten minutes was enough. Brosco? Great talent, but we saw with Crescenzi just why that isn't enough in Serie A. At least Alessandro had something of a safety net. Who's Brosco's safety net down to ten men? Doni, that's all. Montella and slot Mirko in at right back?
Alright, I'll give you that one.
SAMPDORIA (3-5-2): Castellazzi, Raggi, Lucchini, Campagnaro; Stankevicius (29' pt Padalino), Palombo, Franceschini (37' st Bellucci), Pieri, Sammarco; Pazzini, Cassano.
A disposizione: Mirante, Ferri, Da Costa, Dessena, Ziegler.
ROMA (3-4-2-1): Doni; Diamoutene, Panucci, Riise; Motta, Brighi, Pizarro, Tonetto; Baptista, Menez (34' st Crescenzi); Vucinic (47' st Montella).
A disposizione: Artur, Loria, Filipe, Brosco, D'Alessandro.
Arbitro: Rosetti di Torino
Assistenti: Stefani - Faverani
Quarto uomo: Cavarretta
Ammoniti: Palombo, Diamoutene, Motta, Padalino, Lucchini, Pizarro
Espulsi Motta, Mazzarri
Marcatori: 7' pt e 25' st Baptista, 25' pt e 43' pt Pazzini
DDR* (2nd of a 2 game)
Pizarro (yellow accumulation)
Diamoutene (yellow accumulation)
Only Roma could possibly have a player who signs one yellow away from accumulation, picking up said yellow when they so greatly need him. More of the same. They're conspiring, etc etc...
* - The investigation into De Rossi's words - "they cheat, everybody knows it" mini-rant (paraphrasing) - hasn't even occurred and will Friday. Not good.
Perrotta: Looking at another month.
Cassetti: Began training again but only lightly and he won't be available for Juve.
Cicinho: See you in October?
Aquilani: Simply due to a numbers issue, may be forced onto the pitch on the weekend despite having no business there whatsoever with his ankle.
And having not known the full reasoning behind his injury, I guess he can count himself lucky. Like Miroslav Klose this weekend, Aquilani's ankle injury came through stepping on a hole in the pitch. Unlike Klose, fortunately, it hasn't required surgery (yet) and he won't be out the same eight weeks (again...yet).
Taddei: Out, obviously.
Juan: Gone to Brazil for ten days worth of treatment, definitively out.
Francesco: According to Roma News, very unlikely to play.
He is Francesco Totti. He is the captain. He is the lifeblood of Roma. If he can walk, he will play. No man would sacrifice more for the good of La Magica.
Panucci, Mexes, Riise, Tonetto
Brighi, Baptista, Filipe
Bench: Artur, Loria, Montella...