Qualification Nearly Assured
There’s no question that Roma’s Serie A campaign this season has been disappointing, as the Giallorossi sit outside the European places. Conversely, the Champions League has been where Roma have done their best work. The Giallorossi won 2-1 against CSKA in frigid Moscow on Wednesday. That win was Roma’s third straight in the continental competition, after losing its opener at Real Madrid. Roma now sits on nine points through four matches in Group G. That total is Roma’s highest ever through four matches in UEFA’s elite club competition.
Roma currently sit joint first in Group G with Real Madrid; five points ahead of third place CSKA. With only two group matches remaining and the Giallorossi having won both head-to-head matches with CSKA, Roma only need a point to guarantee a place in the knockout rounds. Additionally, if CSKA pick up less than six points in their last two, then Roma could advance even losing their last two.
With Real Madrid coming to Rome on match day 5, Roma also controls its own destiny in potentially winning Group G. A win against los Blancos would see Roma move into control of the group with only a trip to Plzen remaining. Meanwhile, a draw would see Roma remain joint top, but Real would hold the head-to-head tiebreakers heading into the last match day. Even with qualification nearly assured, Roma still have plenty to play for in the last two group stage matches.
As Roma continue to obtain positive results on the continent, they continue to move up the current season’s UEFA rankings. Roma are currently in sixth position for this season with 10 ranking points. This makes them the highest rated Italian team, tied with Juve. However, this is only one point behind leaders Bayern Munich, FC Porto, and Barcelona.
With three consecutive victories, Roma have also solidified their 13th place ranking in the overall rankings. Those rankings take into consideration the results of the last five seasons in European competition. With this week’s results, Roma has gained a little more distance between itself, Napoli (v. PSG 1-1), and Liverpool (v. Red Star 0-2). It also gained some traction on Shakhtar Donetsk (v. Man City 0-6) and Borussia Dortmund (v. Atletico Madrid 0-2). With Shakhtar last in its group Roma could potentially move into twelfth with more positive results later in the competition.
Primavera Squad Following Suit
Earlier in the day Wednesday, Roma’s Primavera squad defeated CSKA’s youth team by the identical 2-1 scoreline that the senior squad won by. The youngsters, under the tutelage of Alberto De Rossi, are now on course to advance out of Group G into the knockout rounds of the UEFA Youth League. On Wednesday, De Rossi’s boys were able to overcome the Russians behind an opening goal by youth team golden boy Alessio Riccardi.
With back-to-back wins over CSKA, the Primavera squad now has six points, which puts them in second in the group behind Real Madrid who remain perfect on 12 points. Roma leapfrogged Viktoria Plzen who lost to Madrid yesterday. With a two point edge on Plzen, the last match of the round could be decisive when the two play head-to-head.
Other News and Notes
- Wednesday’s victory was Roma’s first on the road in the Champions League since Qarabag in September 2017. (source AS Roma Data)
- Kostas Manolas scored his fifth Champions League goal for Roma. Four of his five Champions League goals have been scored on headers. (OptaPaolo)
- With his goal, Manolas has averaged a goal every 810 minutes in the Champions League. Meanwhile, he’s scored once every 2319 minutes in Serie A. (AS Roma Data)
- Manolas was named to UEFA’s Top XI for matchday 4.
- Lorenzo Pellegrini has two goals and five assists in his last eight matches. (AS Roma Data)
- Pellegrini has recorded assists in 3 straight UCL matches. He’s the first player to do that for an Italian side since Clarence Seedorf for AC Milan in 2007. (OptaPaolo)
- Roma have now scored 11 goals against CSKA in the Champions League. That’s more than they’ve scored against any other side. (OptaPaolo)
- Roma has won five and drawn one of Davide Santon’s six starts. (Il Romanista)