It wasn't all bad news in the Eternal City today. While José Mourinho and the Giallorossi were struggling against their own bottom-dwelling opposition today, watching in dismay as Nicolo Zaniolo's would-be 90th-minute match-winner was chalked off due to a rather controversial foul in the buildup, Alessandro Spugna and the women of Roma dodged a bullet against seventh place Pomigliano. After falling behind thanks to a 23rd-minute penalty, Roma closed out the first half with a pair of strikes from Annamaria Serturini and Emilie Haavi, only to see that lead quickly erased—like 30 seconds into the second half quick.
With third place Sassuolo handling their business against Sampdoria, Roma risked losing their grasp on second place, but thanks to some second-half heroics, the Giallorosse not only pummeled Pomigliano 5-2 but pushed their club-record winning streak to eight consecutive matches, retaining second place in the process.
And no player was more instrumental in that late surge than Emilie Haavi (though Paloma Lázaro, who bagged a brace of her won, wasn't far behind). The 29-year-old Norwegian midfielder/defender/winger has taken the capital by storm, making Sérgio Oliveira's hot start look tame by comparison. With two goals and an assist today, Haavi has now had a hand in six Roma goals in her first 270 minutes in a Roma shirt: three goals and three assists.
Speaking to Italian broadcaster LA7, Haavi admitted that, while she didn't expect to make this large of an impact so soon, she’s incredibly happy for the two goals and wants to continue her current form.
Spugna was also quick to praise the club's recent addition:
Haavi? She has settled down very well, I really think she likes Rome. Today she scored a brace, she’s a good player that we followed and wanted.
She is a great professional, we were sure of her qualities. She was very good at joining immediately, but also the group to welcome her. This is happening with everyone and is what counts to achieve the objective
With eight matches remaining on the league calendar, including tilts against first-place Juventus and third-place Sassuolo, Roma will need everything Haavi has to offer (and then some) to secure one of Italy's two Champions League places next season, to say nothing of laying claim to the Scudetto.
In case you missed any of Haavi's heroics, feast your eyes on the latest Giallorosse triumph.
Annamaria Serturini: 26th Minute (Roma 1, Pomigliano 1)
While it required a slight deflection to make its mark, Serturini played this ball perfectly, lofting it just enough to avoid the defense, while giving it enough topspin to drop gently into the back of the net. This goal, Serturini's fifth, gives her a share of the club lead along with Lázaro. As impressive and important as Haavi's contributions have been, Roma won't go anywhere without Serturini menacing defenders down the left flank.
Emilie Haavi: 45+2” (Roma 2, Pomigliano 1)
Haavi may have finished this chance, but let's give proper credit to Benedetta Glionna, who missed out on her fifth assist of the season thanks to the keeper's half-hearted intervention. The goals haven't flowed as freely as we thought when Roma signed her over the summer, but Glionna is proving to be every bit as dynamic as we'd hoped, registering two goals and four assists in 972 minutes.
Glionna aside, Haavi did well to stick with the play, shadowing her movements and sticking to the far post, while having the presence of mind and quick reflexes to essentially throw herself at the ball to reclaim the lead.
Her second goal of the afternoon was much more impressive...
Emilie Haavi: 58th Minute (Roma 3, Pomigliano 2)
After slipping past the defense down the left flank, Haavi settled the ball and headed straight for the goal. Admittedly, the defense wasn't exactly bearing down on her, but she did well to shake the defender closest to her with a clever little jab step to her right before beating the keeper with a lovely left-footed finish at the near post.
But somehow, Haavi wasn't done yet...
Paloma Lázaro: 70th Minute (Roma 4, Pomigliano 2)
It's a shame they don't officially track hockey-style secondary assists because Manuela Giugliano dropped a dime from midfield, splitting the defense nearly 40-yards out to play Haavi into space down the left. From there, Haavi wasted little time, drawing the defense further away from the middle before squaring the ball to Lázaro for the tap-in goal; just an incredibly smart play from the 29-year-old.
Not to be outdone by Haavi, Lázaro finished the match with a flourish, securing a brace of her own.
Paloma Lázaro: 74th Minute (Roma 5, Pomigliano 2)
After starting the sequence some thirty yards away from the goal, Lázaro drove right through the heart of the defense, setting up a give-and-go with Andressa Alves, whose return pass split two defenders before catching Lázaro in stride for the low and away finish.
Barring a massive Hellas Verona upset over undefeated Juventus tomorrow, Roma will finish the weekend in the same place in which they began it: second place, even on points with third-place Sassuolo and six behind the league-leading Old Lady.
The season's final two months promise to be a fight to the finish, and while eclipsing Juventus may prove a bridge too far, with gutty performances like these, Roma are proving they have what it takes to be a Champions League club.