Not too bad for the Giallorossi’s first match out of the international break, right? For more times than I’d like to remember, Roma, particularly when they were on a good run of form going into the break, often fell flat and looked out of sorts in the first couple of matches coming out of it. And although the match against Sampdoria wasn’t the most exciting affair by any means, Roma turned in a professional performance to continue their unbeaten league run, keep pace in the race for the top-four, and put pressure on Juventus in advance of their match against Inter later in the day.
As is often the case in these matches right after the international break, the first twenty-five minutes or so weren’t particularly noteworthy, as both sides took their time in finding their footing, testing each other periodically. That was until the 27th minute, when Lorenzo Pellegrini found Nicola Zalewski making a run in behind, who fired a cross across goal, nearly finding Tammy Abraham, the ball instead bouncing back towards the center of the box, where Mkhitaryan was able to get just enough to get it past the Sampdoria defense and give Roma the early lead. For a team often criticized for their inability to score, playing for a coach who is so often criticized for how his teams perform offensively, that was an absolutely wonderful team goal by the Giallorossi.
The rest of the first-half saw Roma take firm control of the match, comfortable in the knowledge that they had the lead and Sampdoria were going to have to take the game to them if they had any hope of winning the match. And while you certainly wish Roma had more to show for it as the half ended, Mourinho would no doubt have been pleased going into the break.
Unfortunately for the viewer, the second half wasn’t much to write home about, as the Giallorossi comfortably saw out the game for the majority of the half, with the final few minutes of the game and stoppage time naturally being the nerviest. Credit to Roma though, with an important rematch with Bodø in midweek in the Conference League, it was of the utmost importance to continue the wave of momentum they’re currently on, and while it wasn’t pretty, the Giallorossi will now almost certainly be ready to roll against their Norwegian opponents following this victory over Sampdoria.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the highlights below. If you want a deeper look, here is the extended highlight package.