Get out the champagne, go purchase your Doumbia jersey and go grab yourself a slice of ham off that pig that just flew past your window, Roma has won a game of football!
Roma now sit on the heels of a fading Juve and Rudi Garcia is a wonder coach and has inspired the future biggest, baddest, most economically elite and globally branded team in football!!!
Ok, ok, I’ll stop pissing in your ears. But nonetheless an extraordinary thing occurred this evening, a team with the starting front three of Gervinho, Doumbia and Ibarbo scored 3 goals playing away to an actual Serie A side.
A warm up injury to Seidou Keita meant Rudi had to shelve his planned 4-3-1-2 and instead went back to rocking the 4-3-3 and calling up everyone’s favourite “has so much talent, just needs another year or twelve to settle” striker, Doumbia. Florenzi stayed at RB alongside Manolas and Astori while Torosidis made his return to the team at LB.
I feel it prescient at this point to raise the possibility that Ashley Cole has probably slept with Rudi Garcia’s missus and must have done a decent job at it. The man still remains less likely to get minutes on the pitch than an Oasis rock concert reunion. This is despite the cataclysmically poor performances on Roma’s left side for the past few months. You know it makes sense.
Pjanic, DDR and Ninja Nainngolan rounded out the midfield at the Stadio Citta Tricolore.
In the opening minutes an astonishing thing occurred. Roma’s centre forward scored a headed goal from a decent cross. Let’s cast aside the diabolical defending and inept goalkeeping for a moment and give a warm, fluffy unicorned hug to the least popular Roma player since Emperor Nero. Despite the close attentions of the defender, Doumbia was able to power a strong header on target from Florenzi’s lofted cross. And low and behold, Sassuolo’s troubled keeper Consigli did the rest, palming it with enthusiasm into the roof of the net.
This is exactly what the man was brought to Rome and paid a not inconsequential purse for, converting half chances into goals. Prior to this, Doumbia had looked a better chance at joining Carl Pilkington on an episode of An Idiot Abroad, rather than scoring a goal. So does this mean his slump is over and the man is set to justify his move and make the starting spot his own? Nah, not at all. But hey, progress is progress even if it is the family’s red haired, growth stunted, ugly step-child and it was most encouraging seeing the level of enthusiasm of his teammates as they celebrated with him.
I’m gonna cut through the red tape here and skip up to the highlight of the match. Alessandro Florenzi, the man most adored by the team and Roma faithful, scored one for the ages from the depths of right back.
Starting from a rather innocuous spot, Florenzi skipped past two defenders like they were traffic cones and then from just inside the right hand edge of the box unleashed a brutal corkscrewing thunderbolt that rifled under bar.
Nothing says, “Get me the hell closer to the goal and out of the defence” like that. The explosive speed, close control and sheer audacity to shoot from such a spot speaks volumes about the ceiling of the brightest beacon of hope in the current Roma squad. Florenzi has a remarkably clean shot and strikes the ball with a unique ferocity, I for one wish for his speedy return to a more advanced position.
For reasons unfathomable to your humble scribe, Sassuolo had opted to start Floccari ahead of Zaza. Shortly into the second half this was rectified and the worryingly efficient bald beauty forced Morgan into a fine save. De Sanctis moved smartly to his left palming out the snap shot volley from Zaza who had broken the offside trap thanks to Astori. Morgan’s lack of beard rightfully raised concerns from many but as long as those arms, legs and hands keep blocking incoming efforts I feel our grooming criticisms can remain solely levelled at Nainngolan.
In the 74th minute Pjanic put the result to bed with a clever finish from a Gervinho cutback. The Ivorian did what he often does best, dicking around with the ball as he waits for the defence to catch up with him close to the byline. Pjanic waited an absolute eternity for the pass to come, watching Gervinho do a quick give and go with the defender before moving back, dancing around him and finally arrowing in his assist. From here the Bosnian maestro took a quick touch and lifted the ball into the underside of the crossbar. Smart, efficient and unstoppable.
The closing stages of the match offered no ugly surprises, Iturbe ran around a bit and had some nice touches while both Yanga and Keita got called in for defensive reinforcement from the bench.
When that final whistle came the team still breathed a sigh of relief, knowing no act of god, referee nor striker could poach the three points from their grasp. It says a lot about the precarious state of Roma currently that such a victory against an underwhelming opponent be met with such enthusiasm, but hey, let’s cast away our Debbie Downer glasses and appreciate the goalkeeping errors and close shots at goal that finally went our way.
As Lazio pumped Parma out of Serie A with a 4-0 demolition, Roma is still no closer in it’s quest to claim the holy second spot and with Napoli suiting up on Thursday against Empoli, still have every reason to look over their shoulder. The pressure on Garcia and co remains as strong as ever leading up to a tricky Sunday morning encounter with an in form Genoa who stunned Milan 1-3 at the San Siro. But at least this time, they have some positive momentum.
Until then, enjoy multiple replays of Florenzi’s goal and join in on the CDT debate on Doumbia. We all know who the man of the match was, so let's vote for something else.