Roma kicked off today’s game knowing that only a win was acceptable, and a win was what they earned. In between that sentence, however, lies a ton of details that we can only sum up in saying Paulo Fonseca has drawn up the blueprint on How To Heist Rome into believing you’re everyone’s ideal manager.
If you like yourself a trainer-type coach who believes in youth, then Fonseca began this game with Bryan Reynolds at right-back. Reynolds’ promising performance was complemented by the growth of Ibanez putting a generally calmer performance in defense, Amadou Diawara showing more of that box-to-box spirit that we first saw him embrace away to Fiorentina this spring, and Borja Mayoral once again scoring the winning goal for Roma up front.
But what if you like yourself a pragmatic coach who focuses on the bottom line results? By half-time, Roma were up by that Mayoral goal despite being outflanked (Bologna’s 252 passes to Roma’s 233), outgunned (Bologna’s 10 shots to Roma’s three, though only 5 of Bologna’s attempts were on target) and ran-through (Bologna’s seven dribbles to Roma’s three) by Sinisa Mihajlovic’s Bologna. Eat your heart out, Max Allegri.
But what if you need to put gloss on the game for the sake of tactics blogs and pretty-triangle passing video tweets? Say no more, as Fonseca used the last 20 minutes of the game to start filtering in first-choice Roma players, who then proceeded to string passes together like they’d be sent out by Maurizio Sarri. The scoreline could have easily been 2-0 had Rick Karsdorp made the most of Javier Pastore (yes, he’s alive) threading Rick through, for the chance to make an easy pass across to Mkhitaryan that never came.
The only downside of this victory was Lorenzo Pellegrini forced to pick up a suspension, after committing a professional foul to bail teammate Villar out of a bad mistake in possession. That means Roma will travel to relegation-battlers Torino without their captain next weekend.
Before then, our attention now turns to Roma’s midweek second-leg game against Ajax in the Europa League.