Most of the time when a manager bites the dust in the midst of a tough season, it’s not very hard to get over. Rudi Garcia, Zednak Zeman, and others were understandably let go off unceremoniously and not missed for very long. However, the Eusebio Di Francesco firing has a bit of a different feel. I, like many, were more torn over this one.
EDF certainly had his faults and his team dropped plenty of points, but at the same time there was always that odd performance that made us dream big. It’s for this reason that I think it’s a bit harder to move on from him than other managers that didn’t quite pan out in the Italian Capital. Even though his tenure was a giambotta of mixed results there were some glorious ones that we will never forget. So let’s take a look at my Top 5.
#5: Roma 3 - 1 Lazio; September 29, 2018
The derby can bring out the best in Roma or as we saw this past weekend it can bring out the worst. It can be a catalyst for rebirth during a tough time or the unavoidable iceberg for a sinking ship. Early on this season, Roma were struggling. They needed this Derby and they needed it badly. Fortunately, the Giallorossi came to play and completely ran their city rivals off the pitch. It was a match that turned into Lorenzo Pellegrini’s coming of age in a Roma shirt and probably temporarily saved EDF’s job. There’s nothing sweeter as a Romanista than seeing the wolves devour the Eagles and that exactly what Roma did on this day.
#4: Napoli 2 - 4 Roma; March 3, 2018
Last spring Roma were embroiled in a tight race for a Champions League place. Sound familiar? Standing in it’s way was in this match was a Napoli side that was almost indomitable at the San Paolo; one that was fighting Juve tooth and nail for the Scudetto. Taking anything from this match looked like a tall task that got even taller when Lorenzo Insigne scored just six minutes in. Then just a minute later Cengiz Ünder answered. It was game on and Roma didn’t stop there.
Roma may have been out possessed 67/33 and out-shot more than 2 to 1, but the finishing was clinical on this day. Edin Dzeko scored in the 26th minute before putting it out of reach in the 73rd. Then Diego Perotti put the icing on the cake of a thrilling 4-2 win in the 79th minute.
#3: Chelsea 3 - 3 Roma; October 18, 2017
Advancing out of the Champions League group stage looked to be an uphill battle when the Giallorossi were drawn into a group with Atletico Madrid and Chelsea. However we would soon come to find out that EDF had a knack for getting the most out of his team on Europe’s biggest stage.
Roma quickly fell behind two goals at Stamford Bridge and this looked like it could turn into Roma’s umpteenth Champions League embarrassment. Then all of a sudden the pendulum swung. Roma scored three straight before ceding the tying goal late. It was an invaluable road point. More importantly though Roma proved to be resilient and possessed the ability to play with anyone in the competition. Those became themes of Roma’s deep run in the tournament under EDF.
#2: Roma 3-0 Chelsea; October 31, 2017
Halloween 2017 turned into a real horror show at the Olimpico for the Blues. Just weeks after the thriller in London, the Giallorossi put on a master class at home. Roma struck in the first minute on a lovely Stephan El Shaarawy finish and never looked back. Il Faraone added another in the 36th minute before Diego Perotti sealed the deal in the second half. If the game at Stamford Bridge made Roma believe it could play with anyone, this game made the players realize they could also beat anyone. The three points were also vital in Roma eventually topping one of the groups of death.
#1: Roma 3 - 0 Barcelona; April 10, 2018
This is day we will always remember. It’s one that we will he tell our future children and grandchildren about. For those of you like me, who started bleeding giallo and rosso a few years after the Scudetto triumph of 2001, this is probably your proudest and most memorable moment as a fan.
After the 4-1 beat down in the first leg at the Camp Nou, the second leg in Rome should’ve been business as usual for Barcelona; yet somehow it wasn’t. An early Dzeko goal just six minutes in made us believe and got the Olimpico rocking. The longer Roma held out without conceding, the more that belief grew. Once De Rossi buried that penalty with about 30 minutes to play, the anxiety and tension were palpable. Then the magic moment came in the 82nd minute. Who could ever forget that Manolas header. It was pure ecstasy and a match we will never forget. Thank you EDF for being crazy enough to think you could come back from three down to almighty Barca. For this we will always be thankful.