Life has, once again, interceded so you’ll have to forgive the truncated preview for tomorrow’s Champions League match against Qarabag at the Olimpico. Fortunately, we already poured over the pertinent permutation scenarios yesterday, but the long and short of it is simply this, Roma must win in order to advance to the knockout stages, or to paraphrase Daniele De Rossi, send a beautiful message to the rest of Europe.
On paper, this looks like a cakewalk, especially since Qarabag are the ones making the long road trek this time around, but you know what they say about assumptions.
September 27, 2017: Qarabag 1, Roma 2
Last time out, Roma did what they had to do against an inferior opponent; assert their dominance from minute one, leaving little room for doubt or error. On that particular Azerbaijani evening, Roma had one slip up—the 28th minute goal scored by Pedro Henrique—but thanks to their early assertion, it didn’t come back to bite them in the ass.
With nearly everyone at their disposal, and millions potentially at stake, Roma has no excuse to do the same tomorrow evening. With Diego Perotti, Edin Dzeko and Stephan El Shaarawy all fit and ready for this match, the offensive odd should be stacked in the Giallorossi’s favor, while a fully fit and newly contractually renewed backline should be more than capable of swallowing Qarabag’s best efforts.