Roma’s perfect record against bottom-half teams is now undone. Benevento had one thing on their mind this evening: Dropping back to defend their goal like their relegation-battle hopes depended on it. Roma began this game with the return of Federico Fazio to
professional football first-team action, and Leonardo Spinazzola filling in at centre-back while Bruno Peres played out wide on the left.
There was precious little to be said of the first half, which served as a foreshadowing of the poor movement off-the-ball from Roma’s entire front six (except Karsdorp and sometimes Mkhitaryan) to come for the rest of the game. Roma saw 74% of possession by halftime and made over three times as many passes as the hosts Benevento, but Lorenzo Pellegrini, Gonzalo Villar and others showed little will to actually make runs to try to move Benevento out of position while Borja Mayoral was a ghost upfront.
As a result, the only dent in Benevento’s armor came in the second half from Kamil Glik; a man looking like he was determined to goad the referee into sending him off from the very first minute of the game. That was an invitation the referee finally took Glik up on in the 57th minute. A then 10-man Benevento provoked Fonseca into subbing on Edin Dzeko to join Mayoral in attack, and hope that Dzeko’s force of character could get Roma’s players to move around him. No such luck, however.
Despite a late flurry of action that saw coach Pippo Inzaghi sent off on the sidelines and a late penalty call for Roma—deep into injury time—chalked off by VAR due to offside in the buildup, Roma’s momentum broke down from sloppy individual errors and ponderous play. The result now leaves Roma with no choice but to beat AC Milan next weekend.