I mentioned this on Twitter earlier, but I'll repeat it: based on my superior powers of deduction, it seems like when Roma's women's matches are broadcast in Italy on Sky Sport, the club cannot then simulcast the match via the AS Roma Women's Twitter handle. So, to those of you who have been asking how to watch these matches, please accept my apology; that's two consecutive matches in which the Twitter stream has been blacked out. It's great that the league gets prime coverage on TV, but I hope they can find a way for those of us outside of Italy to watch these matches...you know, legally.
So, even though I was only able to follow the match via updates from the main account, it was too good a game to ignore, if for no other reason than it may be the coming out party for Agnese Bonfantini, Roma's 19-year-old winger/forward. I'm hoping to embed the highlights to this match as soon as possible, but a quick search provided this stunner from an U-19s match against Scotland last April:
#Azzurrine— Italy (@azzurri) April 6, 2018
The superb backheel goal from Agnese #Bonfantini as the #Under19 Women's Team beat #Scotland 4-1 yesterday! pic.twitter.com/4tkqmJ4H3y#VivoAzzurro
It's somewhat fitting that Bonfantini lists Stephan El Shaarawy and Alex Morgan as her favorite players, because that goal was torn right from their respective playbooks. To have the vision and timing, not to mention the ups and sheer skill to pull that off, is nothing short of remarkable.
However, Bonfantini isn't just a scorer, take a look at her Assist of the Year nominee from earlier this season against AC Milan (its the first clip):
️ #RomaAwards2018: Which was the Best Assist of the Year? #ASRoma pic.twitter.com/MFsyhNdFnj— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) January 5, 2019
While Roma didn't win this match, this was further evidence to how dynamic Bonfantini is and is becoming. She not only had the speed to beat the defender in a straight line, and the strength to hold her off, but the creativity and skill to cheekily tuck the ball behind the defender, twisting her around in the process, before dribbling past a second defender to play the ball across for the goal.
However, in today's come from behind victory against Sassuolo, Bonfantini was very much the finisher. After going down to ten thanks to Heden Corrado's red card, Bonfantini latched onto the end of Serturini free kick, blasting it past the helpless keeper and leveling the match at one a piece. Bonfantini would wait all of eight minutes to score the match winner when she took a feed from Giada Greggi in the box and calmly slotted it home past the far post.
Roma wasted many chances in the first half and drew a red card midway through the second half. We've seen this movie many times on the men's side, but rather than wilting, Roma not only leveled the match but stormed back to grab all three points, and fourth place in the process, and it was all thanks to their whirling 19-year-old winger.
A goal down...— AS Roma Women (@ASRomaWomen) January 6, 2019
A player down...
Enter Agnese Bonfantini! #ASRomaWomen #ASRoma pic.twitter.com/MI7QmSHrHH
We've spilled a lot of digital ink in these spaces towards Annamaria Serturini and Elisa Bartoli, and with good reason (Serturini is the leading scorer and received her first senior international call-up, while Bartoli is the captain and soul of the team) but Bonfatini's nose for goal, her athleticism, her creativity and her sheer...I don't know...dopeness profiles a superstar in the making.
As the weeks and months of this season roll by, my understanding of the natural order of the league—namely, who are the real standouts—is developing, and with her blend of scoring and play-making, it shouldn't be long before Bonfantini is top of the heap.
Hopefully, Roma will get the broadcasting bit sorted out, because you don't want to miss a minute of this kid; she's got that "it”quality, the kind where you sense something magical could happen with every touch.
Roma currently have an eight point gap behind third place Fiorentina and a ten point gap behind second place Milan, who hold the final Champions League qualification spot, so it will be interesting to see how much ground Roma can make over the next few weeks.
Needless to say, they'll have to topple both those sides to have a shot at a European spot next season, but thanks to performances like these, you get the feeling it might not be that far fetched.