The world's most celebrated sporting rivalries usually take years, if not decades, to develop. Whether that hatred was born out of shared geography, two clubs fighting for the title year after year, opposing political views, or something else entirely, these feuds don't form overnight. While we wouldn't dare say Roma's budding rivalry with Bodø/Glimt is on par with the Derby della Capitale, for two clubs that have only met three times, the Giallorossi and their Norwegian adversaries are developing quite a disdain for one another.
After getting pummeled by Bodø 6-1 in their first meeting last fall in the Europa Conference League group stage, Roma managed to save some face after drawing the return leg 2-2; a plucky result but nevertheless a disappointment. So when Roma were drawn against Bodø again in the Conference League Quarterfinals, Giallorossi supporters were understandably nervous.
Even though the two clubs had met only twice prior to yesterday's 2-1 loss in Norway, good things seldom happen when these two clubs meet—and we're not even talking about the alleged post-match altercation between Bodø manger Kjetil Knutsen and Roma assistant coach Nuno Santos.
While Roma has been fortunate to avoid any major injuries this season, they received quite a scare last night when Gianluca Mancini left the pitch in the 69th minute with an apparent knee injury. After being swapped out for Chris Smalling, many feared the worst for Roma's 25-year-old defender, who is reportedly set to extend his stay with the club with a new contract extension expected any day now.
After undergoing tests earlier today in Trigoria, Roma and Mancini can breathe a sigh of relief, as the exams revealed no structural damage. Despite that good news, Mancini is likely to miss Sunday's fixture against Salernitana as he continues to recover from the knock he sustained yesterday.
Joining Mancini on the doubtful list for Sunday's match is star striker Tammy Abraham. While Tammy Two Goals played all 90 minutes last night, it wasn't exactly a stroll in the park. Nursing a thigh strain, Abraham soldiered on against Bodø but Mourinho may choose to rest the 24-year-old this weekend against Salernitana, preferring instead to rest his leading goal scorer for next week's return leg against Bodø.
Roma's struggles against Bodø are proof positive that you should never overlook or underestimate any opponent, regardless of their street cred. And without Mancini, Abraham, and club captain Lorenzo Pellegrini, who will also miss Sunday's match due to accumulated yellow cards, Roma will put that axiom to the test immediately.
Sitting dead last in Serie A, Salernitana aren't likely to provide much of a challenge for Roma, but with three key players potentially missing, and with the sting of Thursday's loss still fresh in their minds, Sunday's match just became that much more difficult—something Roma can ill afford as they attempt to chase down Juventus for Italy's finally Champions League place.