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Roma Women Face Toughest Test of Season Against First Place Milan

Now we’ll really see what Roma is made of.

AS Roma v Chievo - Women Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Roma’s first few months in the Serie A Femminile has been like an unfinished play, one in which the first two acts stand in stark contrast. The first act, in which the Giallorosse were stumbling out the gates—struggling to forge an identity, to say nothing of scoring goals—was frustrating for outside observers and could have been calamitous for the team itself. Remember, this team was brand new, with no history or past success on which to fall back, so it would have been perfectly understandable if they cratered or simply set lower expectations for themselves. After all, they were new and remarkably young, what could reasonably be expected anyway?

However, that early season narrative served as the perfect setup for their late-fall turnaround. In this stunning second act, Roma have been practically flawless, scoring goals at will while maintaining a watertight defense. After reaching their nadir against Juventus in late October, a 4-0 thrashing on the road, the ragazze have run roughshod over the competition, outscoring their opponents 16-4 en route to a five-match unbeaten streak, including three consecutive wins.

Roma vs. AC Milan: December 1st. 12:30 CET/6:30 EST. Stadio Tre Fontane, Roma.

As we mentioned last week, this turnaround has not only been a showcase for the club’s show stoppers (namely Annamaria Serturini, the league’s third leading goal scorer), but has brought to light the depth of Betty Bavagnoli’s side, as well as a new appreciation for Emma Lipman, who may very well be the most skilled defender in the city.

With Roma’s character arch trending upwards, they’ll meet their chief antagonist this week, league leading AC Milan. Led by the league’s current top goalscorer, Giacinta Valentina (eight goals), Milan has been, well, they’ve been unbeatable. With six wins and two draws through the first two months, Milan’s record remains blemish free, and while they haven’t quite been scoring at the same clip as Roma, their record over their past five matches is identical—four wins, one draw.

Suffice it to say, this is Roma’s biggest match of the season, and by definition ever. A victory tomorrow would not only erase the memories of that sluggish start, but it could, depending on the rest of the round, push them to third place. And not only would that send a message to the rest of the league, it would put them on the doorstep of European qualification for next season, as the top two clubs gain entry into the Champions League.

The first few pages of Bavagnoli’s script were plagued by passive language and run-on sentences, but after a few rewrites and some shrewd revisions, it looks like she’s got a hit on her hands, and with Roma’s other team floundering at the moment, this is the hottest ticket in town.