While the rest of the footballing world was up in arms over the Europe Super League announcement and the controversy that's sure to ensue over the coming weeks and months, Roma had a seemingly easy fixture on their plates: a venture northward to face 17th place Torino. Andrea Belotti and friends may have been a surprising relegation battler, but they were fighting the drop all the same.
With a third-minute goal from Borja Mayoral that withstood a VAR challenge, things started off well enough for Roma but that would be the extent of the good news for the Giallorosse yesterday in Torino. The remaining 87 minutes saw shaky defending, hasty challenges, missed attempts, and Roma going down to 10 men after Amadou Diawara drew two yellow cards in roughly 20 minutes.
As you might expect, we're really going to have to mine the depths to find a positive spin from yesterday's thrashing.
Two yellow cards in 20 minutes kind of says it all, doesn't it? I suppose it didn't really matter in the end, but you'd like to see more composure from a substitute than that. Diawara has had a confounding season in some ways, but this was one of the few unequivocally dour notes from the 23-year-old midfielder.
As much as I'd love to vouch for my maybe distant cousin from Argentina (I have Fazios in my family tree), the rust on Captain Caveman was hard to hide yesterday. Playing in only his sixth match in 2021, Fazio looked okay in some respects (seven clearances and four interceptions) but was culpable on Torino's second and third goals, getting beat to the ball by Andrea Belotti both times. First by allowing Torino's number nine to fire off a shot which was eventually tapped in by Simone Zaza and then again when Belotti stripped him of the ball before sliding it over to Tomas Rincon for the third goal.
While it feels wrong to include a defender on this list after Roma conceded three goals, Ibañez was one of the few Roma players worth his salt yesterday. In 90 minutes, Ibañez completed 87% of his passes, fired two shots on goal, drew two fouls, completed four successful dribbles (for a defender!!), cleared six balls, won five headers, and completed 9-12 long passes.
Ibañez has had some inconsistencies this season to be sure, but this guy just looks like Super League material, doesn't he?
Stuck In Between
Antonio Mirante: Roma's David Duchovny stand-in faced 27 shots yesterday, making eight saves (six in the box) and completed 79% of his passes. While that's all pretty good, his rebound control escaped him and gave Torino more second-chance opportunities than they should have had.
Pedro: Set up Borja Mayoral's goal, but apart from that he was decidedly average. We have two more years of this, folks. Strap in.
Borja Mayoral: Scored Roma's only goal and completed 80% of his passes but lost the ball 10 times in only 30 touches.
Bryan Reynolds: Another ‘meh’ performance from Reynolds, but considering the circumstances—his age and that this was only his second-ever start—we can't really be too critical. Reynolds definitely looked more comfortable and aggressive on the ball but was given fits by Cristian Ansaldi at the other end. The talent is obvious with this young Texan, Roma just has to be patient.