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Roma 1, Borussia Mönchengladbach 1: Recap and Random Observations

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A gutty performance undone by a brutal refereeing decision.

AS Roma v Borussia Monchengladbach - UEFA Europa League Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Recap

With Roma decimated by injuries, Paulo Fonseca had to get creative with the line-up, that meant Gianluca Mancini being employed in the midfield double pivot next to Jordan Veretout; Roma’s only healthy midfielder. Gladbach almost hit the Giallorossi in the eight minute as Bensebaini struck the crossbar. Bullet dodged. The Germans continued to push for the next few minutes with a few more shots, although none really threatened Pau Lopez’s net. Roma regrouped and broke the deadlock in the 32’ when Zaniolo headed home a Veretout corner. Roma carried the lead into the half.

The second half didn’t see many great chances for either side on the rain soaked pitch. The overall play of the half favored Roma, but the final pass let them down a few times. Roma had its best chance to put the game out of reach when substitute Florenzi was in on goal in the 89th minute. Unfortunately, he dragged his shot just wide with the keeper charging. And, oh, how he would rue that missed chance. In stoppage time, Gladbach was awarded a penalty on a ball that struck Chris Smalling square in the face. Stindl beat Lopez from the spot, 1-1, and that’s how it would end.

Random Observations

  • Roma was absolutely robbed of two points in this one. The penalty call was egregious, as the ball clearly hit Smalling in the face not the hand. No idea what the referee Collum was looking at.
  • How is there no VAR in the Europa League in 2019? It’s used in the Champions League and other major European leagues, but not here. Makes no sense. The nonexistent penalty would have been reversed in mere seconds.
  • This team has balls. For all of the injuries this team has had to deal with, it came to play and deserved to win. It’s hard to imagine some Roma teams of the past playing this hard on a rainy, Thursday night in the Europa League.
  • Gianluca Mancini filled in admirably in the double pivot and gives Fonseca another option going forward. Adding Mancini to the midfield means more defensive cover without changing the formation. This really frees up Spinazzola and Kolarov to maraud up and down the flanks.
  • Fonseca keeps finding ways to stick with his 4-2-3-1 formation by getting creative with the personnel. He’s certainly a guy who believes in his own philosophy.
  • The defense continues to put in strong performances. Smalling’s signing is looking like quite the coup at the moment.
  • Zaniolo responded to Capello’s criticism in the best way possible; by scoring a goal.
  • If Florenzi buried that chance the awful penalty wouldn’t have made a difference. He finally got a chance in attack and blew a golden opportunity.
  • Kluivert’s decision making really needs to improve. He’s got all the talent in the world, but like we’ve seen so often, it’s the mental lapses that let him down.
  • The Olimpico pitch really held up well to the torrential rain.

Cringe-Worthy Moment of the Day

Up Next

Milan come to the Olimpico on Sunday, as the Giallorossi resume their league schedule.