Our pre-match Q&As with writers and podcasters of opposing clubs often give us great insight heading into Roma’s biggest matches. However, we've seldom gotten their perspective in the aftermath of a heated affair. It’s an idea we've wanted to revisit for a couple of weeks now, but unfortunately, last weekend’s Derby del Sole was a bit of a dull affair in terms of flashpoints, so there wasn't much to discuss. But yesterday’s fixture against Milan was a whole different story. The match was cagey and full of controversial talking points, which gives us an opportunity to use this format again.
And it just so happens that we were able to get a Milanista willing to give his take on the proceedings. And better yet, today’s guest Michael Lisi of Fossa Dei Leoni, also has a refereeing background which makes him perfect for a match with plenty of controversial decisions from match official Fabio Maresca.
So, have a look at what Michael has to say about the match and give us your take below.
1. First off, what worried you the most heading into yesterday's match?
Michael Lisi: What worried me most was an early Roma lead, likely off a play by Abraham, and having to chase the game on the road against Mourinho. I thought Milan getting a relatively early goal meant Roma had to chase the game which is not exactly their style.
2. Milan was able to impose their will on Roma, but did Pioli out-manage Mourinho yesterday, or was it a matter of the Milan players just being better than Roma on the night?
ML: I think Milan had 2 significant ‘head to head’ advantages in the game. Our CBs vs Abraham I thought we had the advantage for sure and I was also confident there was little Karsdorp could do to stop Leao. I also thought going in that Pioli is a better game manager than Jose He has his substitution patterns down perfectly. He has a plan every game and usually sticks. Mourinho on the other hand I think is still managing like it’s 10 years ago. He’s reactive instead of proactive and often times that means you adjust too late. Down 2-0 he takes off Abraham for SES? That made no sense to me.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored one heck of a goal to break the deadlock. How much of that comes down to poor positioning by Patricio and how much was just Zlatan being Zlatan?
ML: That was by no means impossible to save. You set up the wall to take away one side or the other and play it accordingly. Seems to me Patricio did a poor job setting up things and left himself in no man’s land. If you set things up to cover the near post... why are you leaning that way?
4. It’s impossible to discuss this match without bringing up referee Fabio Maresca. I know you have a background in officiating, so put on your refereeing lenses: A) What did you make of the penalty against Ibañez on Zlatan? B) What about the non-call on Simon Kjær, which was similar to an incident in last week's Derby d’Italia.
ML: First thing, you can’t control a game with cards. If you start handing them out right away you’ve made 2 problems for yourself. 1) You’ve completed devalued the meaning of the card. 2) Where can you go from there? That first card has to be earned and set the tone for what is acceptable and what isn’t. Also, get those guys out of your face. End that immediately. It’s a bad look to have people in your face after every whistle. As far as the Zlatan goal, I thought he made an excellent call in real-time. Sure he gets the ball but he takes out the back foot first. Either he got lucky or that’s good work catching it in real-time. Though I will say if he doesn’t call that in real time I don’t think VAR changes it. As far as Kjaer I thought that was a terrible call last week so I’m against that being a foul this time as well.
5. To close, here on CdT we have our version of player ratings called Sinners & Saints. Who were your Saints for Milan? Did the Rossoneri have any sinners? And who would you say were the biggest sinners for Roma?
ML: Saints for Milan I would go with Zlatan and Kjaer. Zlatan’s play was impeccable creating chance after chance early on. Milan had 4-5 really solid chances early. Also, Kjaer really did a job cleaning things up. He cut out several breaks and that late header when Roma was really pushing forward was huge. Sinner has to be Theo. Already on a card he gets upset about not getting a call and makes a wild challenge. Not only did that give Roma a free kick in a really nice spot it also meant Milan were down to 10 men. It was a different game after that.
Sinners for you I would say Veretout and Karsdorp. Karsdorp because he got destroyed all night. He was like a turnstyle [sic]. Veretout because I thought he was really poor but then that late challenge on Tonali was reckless. He is very fortunate not to see red. In a game of crazy calls and lots of cards his challenge was easily the worst. A saint? Maybe Pellegrini? I really like him. Though I thought Milan did a good job of taking away all the options around him.