Well, that was better, right? Certainly less embarrassing. No, Roma didn't do the impossible, nor even the semi-plausible, this evening. Rather than upsetting Bayern or even gutting out a draw, Roma fell to the German giants 2-0, thanks to goals from Franck Ribery and Mario Gotze. However, there is a slight silver lining peering through the clouds. Thanks to CSKA Moscow taking down Manchester City this evening, Roma remain in second place in Group E, making their showdown on the 25th a win or go home affair.
While it's true Roma didn't capitulate seven goals to Bayern this time around, the numbers weren't any kinder to the Giallorossi. Bayern held nearly 70% of the possession and bombarded Lukasz Skorupski with 23 shots, nearly quadrupling Roma's offensive output, if we can even call it that.
So, rather than pulling this match apart--really, no one wearing the away whites did anything of note--we'll just take a quick look at what the stakeholders had to say in the wake of another lopsided defeat.
First up, Roma's best player this season, Radja Nainggolan
We are aware that Bayern are a couple of steps ahead of us...We tried to adapt to their style of football and generally didn't allow them many clear opportunities, so today we proved that we are a team who can play this way too. The important thing tonight was to send a signal to ourselves that last time was just a one-off. We showed that we are also capable of defending and counter-attacking, while we wasted a few chances...We are still second and things are not that bad. We got the approach wrong that time, wanting to take the initiative and conceded two early goals that made everything more complicated.
Nainggolan captures the spirit of this defeat; they learned from the previous disaster, made all the textbookchanges, but simply weren't able to capitalize on whatever inefficiencies they say in Bayern's tactics. A sentiment echoed by Daniele De Rossi:
We gave our all and took a different approach, admitting they are stronger and taking counter-measures. We hoped it would be enough to take home a point, but at least we made a better impression. The first halves against Bayern and Napoli were accidents, as the side had put in very different performances for a year. It was an impossible task tonight.
Finally, the man in charge, Monsieur Garcia:
We know Bayern are a strong side, but we had the right tactical and mental approach. It's a shame they scored those two goals, as they didn't have many chances and we were denied by the best goalkeeper in the world.
We played the game I was expecting. I compliment the lads, even if we lost, as we certainly cancelled out the image we gave of ourselves in the other game.
That's a bit of a hollow victory, even by moral standards, but there is something to be said for keeping a stiff upper lip and remaining within shouting distance of a team as great as Bayern. Garcia went on to lament his side's inability to maintain possession and take advantage of the transition game, but ultimately provided a bit of much needed perspective.
If someone had told us after both games with Bayern we'd still be second, then we'd be happy. That leaves destiny in our own hands. There are two matches to play, we can qualify for the next round and that is the most important thing
And that's really all that matters; Roma has a chance, a real, credible chance, of surviving the group of death, and who among us actually expected that when our lot was cast in pot four?