While we all rejoiced when Roma was awarded a penalty in the 45th minute of Sunday’s bitterly disappointing Derby della Capitale—after all it was the only offense Roma could muster that afternoon—it turns out that gift didn’t come without strings attached. As with most penalty decisions, it’s hard to determine the veracity of said penalty during the run of play, but in this instance it was pretty obvious, Kevin Strootman was trying to pull a fast on referee Orsato.
What was initially greeted with a choruses of boos and hisses from the Curva Nord has now been met with something much more serious, an admonishment from the league’s Disciplinary Committee, who today handed down a two-match ban for Mr. Stroman for faking it.
I’m not familiar with the standard punishment for this infraction, but two matches seems excessive. For his crimes, Strootman will miss two incredibly important matches—doubly so now that Roma’s grasp on second place has been cut to one point—away to AC Milan and home versus Juventus.
While Strootman has had his ups and downs this season, his mere appearance on the pitch is a minor miracle. After suffering multiple injuries to the same knee, Strootman has seemingly put his troubles behind him this season, logging well over 2,000 minutes in league action, scoring four goals and chipping in five assists along the way. He’s not all the way back to what he once was, but he’s damn close and he’s become as indispensable as he ever was.
In his absence, depending on what formation Luciano Spalletti chooses, look for a double pivot of Daniele De Rossi and Leandro Paredes, though he could opt to push Radja Nainggolan back and give Clement Grenier some run.
All in all, losing Strootman and Antonio Rüdiger to suspension is a pretty swift and solid kick in the balls for Roma, who have precious little room for error in the seasons final four weeks.