Yesterday's match against Brescia was indeed a tale of two-halves, with the frustrated and off-the-mark Roma giving way to the clinical goal scoring machine who decimated their visitors in the second half. In the wake of the match we wondered what exactly Paulo Fonseca did to stir such a change in his squad. Well, as it turns out, he yelled.
Fonseca's vocal theatrics did the trick yesterday, and with that in mind, we present to you our latest rendition of Sinners & Saints.
Roma Corner Kick Takers in the 1st Half
Roma were frustrated around goal in the first half by a surprisingly stout Brescia defense. However, the visiting side conceded plenty of corners to the Giallorossi in the opening stanza. Unfortunately for Roma, its two corner kick takers, Pellegrini and Kolarov, were well off the mark. The duo wasted chance after chance with poor deliveries that didn’t put any fright into Jesse Joronen in Brescia’s goal. Luckily for the Giallorossi things would improve in this area in the second half.
Nicoló Zaniolo’s Yellow Card
Zaniolo has a reputation for taking a few too many yellow cards, often for his physical play, but this was a new one for the youngster. Zaniolo was carded upon his substitution for not following the new substitution rule, where the exiting player must head to the nearest sideline. This may not seem like a biggie, but this one will cost Zaniolo and Roma. The Italian has now reached the yellow card limit and will be suspended for next Sunday’s match at Hellas Verona.
The Englishman continues to look like the steal of the mercato for Roma. Smalling put in another strong performance on the defensive end, as Roma kept a clean sheet. However, it was the Man United loanee’s offensive contributions that will be remembered in this one.
Smalling got Roma on the scoresheet by heading home a Pellegrini corner into Brescia’s goal — albeit on a deflection. Roma’s #6 wasn’t done there either. Smalling then provided assists on Roma’s other two goals.
The rest of his stat line in this one was unreal, as well: a 96.1% passing percentage that included five accurate long balls, six aerial duels won to go along with five interceptions. It was some all-around game for the Englishman. You can be sure that Roma will be working hard to make his move to the capital permanent.
Mancini may have been overshadowed by his center back partner, but he had a fine performance as well. Mancini’s night will be highlighted by his superb goal to give Roma a 2-0 lead; it was a finish any striker would be proud of, but his transition back into the heart of defense was noteworthy.
After a month of subbing in Roma’s midfield, the young Italian picked up right where he left off prior to the injury crisis. Mancini reformed his partnership with Smalling and didn’t miss a beat. He helped his side to a clean sheet while limiting Brescia’s attacking opportunities. He’s been everything Roma could’ve hope for and more when they brought him over from Atalanta this summer.
Andrea Cistana’s Right Thigh
If it weren’t for the Brescia center back’s bad luck, Roma may have never gotten going in the second half. The young Italian international was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when Smalling headed Pellegrini’s corner goalward. The header likely would’ve been an easy save had it not deflected off of Cistana’s right thigh. That goal seemed to take a weight off the Giallorossi’s shoulders and unglued the Brescia defense that was so stout in the first half. Roma never looked back after that goal.