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Roma 0, BATE 0: Garcia Limps Into the Knockout Stages

Roma was ineffective and uninspiring once again, but hey, they did just enough to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League

Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Roma continued their fecal like form in this evenings make or break Champions League fixture against BATE Borisov. While it wasn't a win or go home scenario, Roma was in essence their own best friend and worst enemy—win and they would have sailed into the knockout stages, draw and they would have had to do a bit of scoreboard watching.

Well, guess which path they chose. Roma's run of five winless matches continued as they played mighty BATE Borisov to a 0-0 draw in front of a sparsely crowded Olimpico. Unlike previous matches in this winless run, Roma managed to threaten the goal quite a bit. Although we can certainly quibble with the quality of the chances, the Giallrossi managed an astounding 24 shots on goal. The problem, as you well saw, was that only 38% of those were on target.

Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi, Miralem Pjanic and even Antonio Rüdiger threatened the Borisov net throughout this match, but were either wide of the mark or flat out denied. You didn't have to be a seasoned fan of the game to realize what was going on: Roma was playing not to lose.

And given the advancement scenarios, you can't blame them entirely, but this yet another example of the uninspired and fruitless tactics to which we've been treated for the past 18 months. If they play like this over the weekend against Napoli, I'd cap the over/under on Gonzalo Higuain goals at four.

While getting to the knockout stages was a stated goal back in August, does anything about this really feel like an achievement? Is this club really one of the 16 best in Europe at the moment? Is there any way we don't absolutely waxed next round?

Mediocrity has become the norm with this team, and at this point, you can't tell if the players are really this bad or if their form is merely a result of Garcia's mismanagement; the lines have been completely blurred.

But, as the old saying goes, the devil's greatest trick was convincing the world he didn't exist.