I thought weekday matches meant trips around Europe. Talk about a tease. Instead of a trip around Europe, AS Roma would venture five hundred kilometer north to take on Parma FC at the Ennio Tardini. Parma is a side that has struggled to find form with only one win in its first three matches. But lest we forget, they were they first side to break our clean sheet last season--is the same in the cards for this season?
Enough with the pleasantries we don't got all day here.
Thankfully, Rudi Garcia decided that we could party today and rolled out the creative trio of Francesco Totti, Miralem Pjanic, and Adem Ljajic. Rudi would also give Jose Holebas his first start in Giallorossi. Was this mix of characters be enough to come away three points?
Come follow on a journey that will take you to places you couldn't even dream of.
The game started off on the slow side. With Roma dominating possession through much of the early going, they were doing little with it. Parma did look solid when they saw possession however. But then you could feel a change in the air after yet another classic Gervinho moment on the counter. Roma would have a string of corner kicks that titled the field. And a few exchanges of possession later, Totti would hit a perfectly weighted volley over a defender to a streaking Ljajic. Ljajic would make no mistakes about it and Roma takes the lead around the thirty minute mark. Go eat some Nutella, you earned it.
Not really many other talking points this half other than Totti getting booked and Parma squandering an excellent chance. This defense sure won't win any style points this season, but they sure do win get-shit-done points. Not sure how they can keep doing that, but as long as they keep grinding out results, I'm not sure that it matters
This half is really a story of the counterattack. It all started with the midfield giving up way too much space in the middle. Providing us with little in the way of build up for attack and leaving no cover on the counter. The story was due for a plot twist though, after about ten minutes into the second half, Morgan De Sanctis would do well on a Antonio Cassano effort from distance to preserve his clean sheet. But on the ensuing corner Paolo De Ceglie pierced a dagger into our collective hearts and level the score.
In an effort to try and change the energy, Garcia inserted Douglas Maicon for Vasilis Torosidis, which did have the intended effect, but left Roma with nothing to show for it. After a few Pjanic-Ljajic one twos at the edge of the penalty area (that were all beauty and no bite), Ljajic would be substituted for Alessandro Florenzi around the 70th minute.
But with ten minutes to go Rudi decided it was time to throw his last dice, putting Mattia Destro on for Il Capitano. With time winding down, Destro got taken down on the edge of the area...dead center, right on the edge of the area, so you knew what would happen next. It was funny to watch Radja smile, as Parma could have given two shits less about the vanishing spray, inching their way closer and closer to Pjanic. But Nainggolan's smile was about to get bigge, as, a few moments later, Pjanic would curl home a stunning free to secure three points for Roma.
As far as CdT superstitions are concerned, it turns out Barbie is a step behind Candice, not being able to match her gif/goal ratio, but with today's result, we can't complain. Grazie Roma.
Rudi has turned Roma into a well-oiled machine, but it still takes it takes the spark of Totti to turn those gears taking a collecting of metal pieces and turning them into a work of art.