While there’s no doubting the fact that Roma just wasn’t very good this season and was wholly undeserving of Champions League qualification, when looking at the Serie A table it just leaves you even more disappointed. When considering the fact that Roma finished only three points behind third place Atalanta, you realize just how close Roma came to returning to Europe’s elite competition; in spite of an awful campaign in many regards. It really begins to make you wonder what could’ve been if Roma hadn’t dropped so many points provincial sides, especially during EDF’s tenure.
During the previous two seasons, Atalanta finishing with 69 points would’ve left them in fifth place. So as great of a story as the Bergameschi securing their first ever Champions League qualification was, the ineptness of Roma, Milan, Inter, and Lazio really contributed to their success. In reality, it was a mattered of who stunk the least that secured the last two CL spots. Clearly that wasn’t Roma.
Quite literally, one or two different results could’ve made all the difference in the Giallorossi reaching their annual stated goal of Champions League qualification. So let’s take a look at some of matches that hurt their chances the most and really leave us wondering ‘what if?’. (In no particular order)
Atalanta 3-3 Roma, Match Day 21
For the second time this season Roma and Atalanta shared the spoils behind a 3-3 scoreline. However, unlike the first match where Roma had to comeback from 3-1 down, it was the Giallorossi who blew this result. It looked like EDF had figured out Gasperini’s side with Roma jumping out to a 3-0 lead by the 40th minute in Bergamo. Then it all fell apart. Atalanta’s furious comeback was capped off by Duvan Zapata’s tying goal in the 71st minute. Considering Roma finished three points behind Atalanta, a win here would’ve been a three point swing; meaning level on points. Plus, Roma would’ve held the head-to-head tiebreaker with La Dea.
Roma 2-2 Chievo, Match Day 4
Another game where Roma blew a multi-goal lead. This time around it was in a home match at the Olimpico against the worst team in the league. Roma jumped out to what looked like a comfortable 2-0 in the first half hour, only to find themselves level in the 81st minute. Let’s be real. This one stung early in the season when it happened and hurts even more considering just how historically bad Chievo was this year.
Bologna 2-0 Roma, Match Day 5
If dropping those two points against Chievo wasn’t bad enough, the Giallorossi extended their winless streak to four straight in Serie A against Bologna. Roma controlled 73% of possession and had 26 shots (8 on target), yet somehow managed to lose this one 2-0. Painful.
Udinese 1-0 Roma, Match Day 13
Similar to the Bologna match, Roma controlled large swaths of possession while peppering the opposing net on the road. And just like in Bologna, Roma were made to pay in Udine. Udinese only avoided relegation on the last day of the season, yet still managed to take three points in a match Roma thoroughly controlled. Regrettable.
Roma 0-2 SPAL, Match Day 9/ SPAL 2-1 Roma Match Day 28
What can be said here except for the fact that SPAL had Roma’s number this season. SPAL ran out 2-0 winners in Rome the first time around, before showing it was no fluke in Ferrara the second time around. SPAL finished just four points above relegated Empoli and these two wins were a big reason why. Conversely, Roma sure could’ve used a split in these two matches. Six dropped points against a side like SPAL would be unheard of most seasons. Baffling to say the least.
Cagliari 2-2 Roma, Match Day 15
Of all the matches where Roma blew a multi-goal lead this one may be the most inexplicable. Roma were sitting comfortably ahead 2-0 at half time and continued to do so deep into the match. Then Cagliari pulled one back in the 84th minute and all of a sudden the Sardi had hope. That hope was seemingly killed off when not one, but two Cagliari players were shown red cards in the 93rd minute. Game over, right? Wrong. Somehow Roma manged to give up the tying goal to a nine-man side just two minutes later.
Wow. Just Wow.