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Bologna Preview: Father and Child Reunion

Family matters: Eusebio faces his son Federico this Saturday

AS Roma Press Conference Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

What’s more heart-warming for a father to see than his kid following in his footsteps? In Eusebio’s case this means having a grand footballing career and ultimately winning the title in Italy. His son, Federico, is slowly climbing the ladder to stardom in Serie A and currently plies his trade for Bologna. The Rossoblu are his first true test as a player, his previous clubs have rather exotic names like Gubbio, Cremonese and Virtus Lanciano. Good enough for a teenager but it’s the big boys you want to hang out with. In the Summer of 2016 Bologna bought Federico for approx € 1.5 million.

Federico, 23 years old, finally wants to break through and comes off a quite successful season. In 2016-2017 he played 24 games for Bologna, scoring 4 goals. This season he’s featured in 7 games (all as a starter) and scored one goal. Not too shabby stats for a winger, but Federico’s at a crucial age for his development. He needs to play a lot and gain valuable experience. Bologna seems the ideal, stable place for him to establish himself. Roma? God no, keep him away from this madness!

Roma v. Bologna: October 28, 20:45 CET/1:45 EDT. Stadio Olimpico, Roma.

Who knows if Federico follows Eusebio’s path and eventually finds himself at a big club like Roma (We’re a big club, right? Right?!). Perhaps he’ll disappear in the lower regions like all those other promising Italians who didn’t cut it. But at least he has a father who knows the business and can guide him throughout his career, during the highs and lows. That’s what fathers are for.

However, this Saturday, both Federico and Eusebio will be enemies, even if it’s for 90 minutes. On the left: Federico, a tricky winger for Bologna. On the right: Eusebio, animated trainer of AS Roma. The clash between father and son will be a match in a match. Federico will be motivated to impress his father, while Eusebio secretly hopes that Fazio and co can shut down his son and grab the three points.

One of them will lose, it’s inevitable. A draw is not an option, especially for the Roma fans. Bologna are enjoying a rather quiet season until now, and are safely in a mid table position so they’d happily go for a draw. But Roma need to keep those wins coming, if they don’t want fall behind too much. Remember, we first need to secure a CL spot (top 4) as soon as possible before we can only dream of something more.

Curiously, Bologna are a tougher nut to crack away from the Dall’Ara than at home. Kinda like Roma. The Giallorossi have won all their four away games, conceding zero goals. Bologna have gathered more points on the road as well: 3 wins and 2 defeats. At home they only managed one win in 5 games. Enough reasons to take this match-up seriously. This won’t be a walkover.

Anyone who saw the game Wednesday can agree. Roma needed an easily awarded penalty to defeat Crotone of all teams. What if the ref didn’t blow his whistle? Would you still be certain of a win the way things were going? I saw a lot of missed passes, long balls going nowhere, players losing possession too easily. Barely inspiration on the pitch, the look of Totti in the stands said it all. This is not the Roman we want to see.

Bologna is tougher than Crotone and have better players overall. Simone Verdi, recently called for the Azzurri, is someone to keep an eye on. Former Roma striker Destro can be deadly in front of goal as we saw in his Roman days, but he can disappear in a match as well (again, see his Roman highlights). And of course the third cog of Donadoni’s 4-3-3 front line doesn’t need an introduction anymore: Di Francesco.

The Rossoblu have their own injury crisis going on: Torosidis, Mbaye, Donsah, Taider, Palacios will probably miss the game. Not the weakest names on their team, mind you. Mirante is your typical ‘average Italian keeper who releases his inner Buffon against Roma’, but that’s it really. The defense and midfield doesn’t boost any intimidating names and should be no match for the Perotti’s, Dzeko’s, Pellegrini’s and Strootmen.

Which leaves us one last topic: Roma itself. Crotone was an ugly win. Even uglier than the lovechild of Frankenstein who just comes out of bed and The Elephant Man without make-up. That same performance tomorrow won’t suffice, I can tell you that. Luckily for us, Eusebio is a man who loves rotation so we’ll see some fresh faces in the starting line-up. I think a bit of Pellegrini, SES, Jesus and Florenzi won’t hurt.

Let’s also take a moment to pray for Slick Rick, aka Karsdorp who’s now officially joined Roma’s Army of Cursed Legs (ACL). Uhm, well done I guess?

In the end Roma always needs to keep the three points at the Olimpico. And secure the win as quick as possible so we can go into energy-saving mode. Something failed to do against Crotone. There’s a very important CL fixture against Chelsea just around the corner, on Tuesday. A good result there can pave the way to the knockout stages.

Back to Bologna: It’s gonna be tough for Eusebio to watch his son slink off the pitch after a painful defeat, but there can be no mercy. Family matters. Just not on a football field. There’s more than enough time for father and child reunions on Sundays.