For the first hour plus of today's opening fixture in the Europa League, there weren't many highlights to speak of. Thanks to the rain, the slick synthetic surface, and Roma's starting lineup of second choice players, noteworthy moments were few and far between tonight in Bern. Playing against BSC Young Boys in front of an estimated crowd of 1,000 die hard fans at the Stadion Wankdorf, Roma were effectively hemmed in by the weather, their lack of creativity, and Young Boys’ plucky first half performance.
With chances hard to come by and chemistry lacking, you didn't exactly have to be Sir Alex to sense that the Giallorossi were in dire need of a spark in the second half. And for the first time this season, Paulo Fonseca's substitutions were spot on. With a critical fixture against AC Milan looming on Monday, Fonseca made the correct call by starting the likes of Gonzalo Villar, Borja Mayoral and Rick Karsdorp, among others; his regulars needed rest and raw products like Villar need experience; simple as.
But by inserting Edin Dzeko, Leonardo Spinazzola, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini in the second half, Fonseca found the inspiration, strength, and composure Roma were lacking through the first hour of the match, which, coincidentally enough, gave us actual highlights to enjoy!
See for yourself...