I’m not sure if it’s simply due to the nature of the competition or Roma’s, shall we say, sporadic record in European play, but they were once again cast against a completely unfamiliar opponent today when they welcomed Austria Wien to the Olimpico, and once again, Roma made things hard, if not impossible, for themselves.
How bad, dig this:
I had a 100 words or so of a tidy 3-1 victory review started. Time to unearth "Roma Blows a Lead" from my match review templates.— BrenCdT (@BrenCdT) October 20, 2016
You’d think I would know better by now, right? Nope,
With a two goal lead in his pocket, Spalletti did the unthinkable, he gave match time to Emerson, which, causal or correlational, precipitated Roma’s decline.
Yeah, so, I don’t know what to write. Do you want a blow by blow account? Can you even stomach to see yet another Roman capitulation? Remember, this is the same team that just defeated Napoli, and has perhaps their easiest domestic date yet this weekend against Palermo, but god only knows how that one will go.
Roma’s defense, such as it is, completely collapsed, throwing away a potential three point lead at the top of Group F in all of 120 seconds. So, rather than gutting ourselves, we’ll do what we always do in these situations, drop down to our knees and thank god for Francesco Totti.
In this, his 100th European appearance, the kid of gold was just that. Totti was instrumental in Roma’s (I nearly typed victory, I swear to god) 80 minutes of competent football, setting up two of Roma’s three goals.
But before we get to those, take a look at this Totti-esque pass from Gerson, who set up Stephan El Shaarawy in the 19th minute to level the match at one all.
EL SHAARAWY EQUALAIZES! Roma 1-1 Austria Wein pic.twitter.com/TAO0WkXal3— ItalianFootballTV (@IFTV_Official) October 20, 2016
Just a gorgeously lobbed ball from Gerson, who found SES in stride, all the way from midfield. Gerson was spotty today, but if this is a glimpse of what he’s truly capable of, goddamn!
Okay, back to Totti. Roma’s eternal captain set-up El Shaarawy’s second goal in the 34th minute.
EL SHAARAWY AGAIN! Roma 2-1 Austria Wien pic.twitter.com/xR8gShHR72— ItalianFootballTV (@IFTV_Official) October 20, 2016
Now this one...this one was special. Totti, with a man bearing down on him, found El Shaarawy on the complete opposite side of the pitch; this pass was so perfectly weighted and placed, that El Shaarawy could have tapped this one home using a walker with little tennis balls on the bottom.
But let’s talk about that shot for a second. What a fantastic job by El Shaarawy to slow down, open up his hips and hit it with his stronger foot, burying it in the top corner. The Pharaoh has had a rough go of it this season, but this match is a reminder of just what a game changer he is...well, you know, on a normal team.
Totti would dole out assist number two, one that seemed like the match clincher, in the 69th minute.
Totti once again floated a picture perfect cross-pitch pass to set up his teammate, finding a streaking Florenzi on the right wing, who summarily blasted it past the keeper. Full marks to Ale for the timing of that run and the clinical finish.
So, in these dark days, let us at least be thankful for all that is Francesco Totti. Win, lose or draw, he is the beacon guiding us home.
But yeah, this was bullshit. Why must we always deal with this?