Flashback, if you will, to a simpler time, a time before America was staring down the barrel of an additional $1.5 trillion in debt, a time before network morning show anchors were complete and utter scumbags. The date is November 22nd, 2017, and our dear AS Roma, perched atop Group C, needed just a simple draw to win their Champions League group and advance to the knockout stages.
For seventy minutes or so, Roma got the job done, holding just firm enough to keep Atletico Madrid at bay, and despite their lack of offensive firepower on this evening, it looked like EDFs boys would advance, but then something terrible happened—Antoine Griezmann’s golazo ripped out our collective hearts, and in the process delayed Roma’s Champions League dreams for a few more weeks with their 2-0 victory at the Wanda.
Still, thanks to their impressive efforts against Chelsea and their initial draw with Atletico, Roma are still in prime position to advance to the next round in the world’s most glamorous football tournament. Thanks to the wonderful and confusing world of mathematics, Roma has several avenues to the next round, each more confusing than the last.
So, with that in mind, here are all the Group C permutations, which aren’t that confusing given that Chelsea has already advanced:
Group C: Roma (8) v Qarabağ (2), Chelsea (10) v Atlético Madrid (6)
Chelsea are through. They will secure first place with victory or if Roma fail to win.
Roma will go through with a win, or if Atlético fail to win. If Roma win and Chelsea do not, Roma win the group.
Atlético need to win and hope Roma do not to finish second (if they both finish on nine points, Atlético have the superior head-to-head).
Qarabağ will finish bottom.
So there you have it, at its essence, Roma simply needs to win, and with lowly Qarabag coming in all the way from Azerbaijan, the odds are stacked in Roma’s favor, we just have to hope they’ll take advantage.