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Roma Happens: Giallorossi Draw Genoa, Essentially Extinguishing Champions League Hopes

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With Atalanta securing a win against Lazio, Roma’s match versus Genoa was a must-win to keep the hopes of a Champions League berth alive. That... didn’t happen.

Genoa CFC v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

As I’ve said in other recent match reviews, the tight race for the last Champions League spot has turned every match into a final for the Giallorossi. With Atalanta handily defeating Lazio 3-1 earlier today, a win against Genoa became even more crucial for Roma. Anything less than three points would give Gli Orobici sole custody of fourth, while also providing another lifeline for AC Milan despite their poor recent form. Given that Roma players seemed to understand the stakes of this match leading up to kickoff, one could expect a strong first half from i Lupi, right? Well, not exactly.

Where Roma’s first half against Cagliari was some of the best football I’ve seen from the Giallorossi in months, Roma’s first half against Genoa was some of the worst I’ve seen from them since the hiring of Claudio Ranieri. Nicolo Zaniolo continued to look out of place on the right wing, Alessandro Florenzi continued to exhibit poor form, and no one Roma player stood out as having had a strong half. Roma was beaten by Genoa in the first half in shots and shots on target, despite holding possession for nearly sixty percent of the half. If Roma was to win this one, it seemed like it would be a squeaker of a game. The fact that it came down to squeaking out a win against a sixteenth-placed side wasn’t particularly encouraging, but Roma has always been known to play down to its opposition.

As the second half started up, it certainly looked like more of the same, with the score staying at 0-0 and neither side playing very interesting football. Of course, it’s understandable that relegation-battling Genoa didn’t have much interesting football to share with the world; that a club with the intentions of Champions League football struggled against i Rossoblu was a completely different situation. The first fifteen minutes of the second half saw continued poor performance from Lorenzo Pellegrini, and I couldn’t help but wonder why the manager with the moniker Tinkerman was, well, not tinkering with a lineup that was obviously not working.

Finally, a substitution was made, with Patrik Schick coming on for Lorenzo Pellegrini. After that change didn’t seem to do much for the energy in the side, Ranieri substituted Nicolo Zaniolo with Justin Kluivert in the 71st minute, yet there was still something lacking in Roma’s tactics. If anything, this match confirmed to me that despite Ranieri’s admirable attempts to right the Giallorossi ship, a new manager will still be a necessity in the summer.

And then, by the Grace of God...

Stephan El Shaarawy: 82nd Minute (Genoa 0, Roma 1)

If you don’t have Il Faraone as your player of the season for Roma, I’ll give you a minute to change your opinion.

sips his espresso

Okay, are we all on the same page now? El Shaarawy is Roma’s leading scorer in Serie A and one of its few consistent offensive sparkplugs. He scores when a goal is needed, simple as that.

I had hoped that this would be the end of the match review. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

Cristian Romero: 90th Minute (Genoa 1 - Roma 1)

Roma happened. That’s all I have to say about that.

Conclusions

Here comes the Europa League.