A decade is a long time. A lot can happen in ten years. The last decade has been filled with memorable victories and painful defeats. And as great as it is to revel in the joyous memories, sometimes it’s necessary to relive the pain of defeat. This is one of those times.
Roma has suffered some hefty defeats over the last ten years. There was the 7-1 beat down to Bayern at the Olimpico in the 2014-15 Champions League group stage. Of course, that was followed the next year with a drubbing at the hands of Barcelona 6-1 in Catalonia. And who can forget getting shellacked by Fiorentina in last year’s Coppa Italia.
Then there were the losses that hurt even more because of when they occurred and what was at stake. For example, the 2013 Coppa Italia final defeat at the hands of Lazio stung because it was a final and, well, it was Lazio. Losing to Liverpool in the Champions League semifinals was distressing too, but let’s be honest, Roma was playing with house money at that point.
Those defeats all hurt a lot. However, when I reflect back on the decade that has filled my mind with so many giallorosso tinted memories, one defeat stands out the most: The 2-1 defeat to Sampdoria at the Olimpico that ultimately cost the Giallorossi the Scudetto.
Roma was on a roll heading into match day 35 of the 2009-2010 season. Claudio Ranieri’s side was on a six match win streak and unbeaten in 24 straight league matches. Simply staggering numbers.
That win streak included the vital 2-1 win over Inter on match day 31 that had moved the Giallorossi to the top of the table. Things seemed to be playing out perfectly for Roma to win it’s first Scudetto in nearly a decade.
Roma held the slimmest of margins—one point— over holders Inter, but a derby victory the previous week had Ranieri’s side poised to close things out down the stretch.
The final four matches would start with Samp. The Blucerchiati were no slouches that season. They were fighting for a top four spot and featured the dynamic duo of Giampaolo Pazzini and Antonio Cassano. It wouldn’t be easy, but after beating Inter and Lazio in dramatic fashion, Roma were favored the defend the Olimpico on that Sunday night.
Roma knew it needed a win with Inter having already won. As the match opened, things were playing out according to plan. Roma played a strong first half and 1-0 lead after just 15 minutes thanks to Francesco Totti. The Giallorossi had a number of opportunities to double the lead, but Marco Storari made a couple big saves. They entered the half up a goal, and seemingly in complete command.
Ultimately, Roma would rue the missed opportunities because things would change dramatically in the second half. Unfortunately, in the second stanza Samp flipped the script on Roma. Shortly after halftime, Pazzini headed home a Cassano cross to level the score. It was game on.
Roma continued to push for a second goal, knowing that nothing less than a win was good enough. In the end, a second goal wasn’t in the cards as Storari stood tall time and again. Unfortunately for Ranieri’s side, there was a winner to be scored by Samp. Pazzini struck again, this time slotting home Daneiel Mannini’s low cross.
With that, Roma’s Scudetto hopes were dashed. A hungry Samp side, which would qualify for the following season’s Champions League, pulled the rug out from under the Lupi. It’s the closest Roma would come in the current decade to winning its elusive fourth Scudetto.
Roma would finish just two points behind Inter; the fourth time in five years they were second best to the Nerazzurri. Of course, the Giallorossi would go on to finish runners up three more times (to Juve) in the 2010’s. However, none of those campaigns saw Roma so close to winning a title. As the decade comes to a trophy-less close, this painful defeat reminds us just how close Roma was to starting it with a Scudetto.
If you’re a glutton for punishment you can read a breakdown of the match here and watch the “highlights” below.
Which loss this decade still pains you the most?
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2013 Coppa Italia final to Lazio
2010 loss to Samp that lost the Scudetto
2018 Champions League semis to Liverpool