Well, at the very least, you can say that was about as exciting as a 1-1 draw can get. In what was The Princess Bride’s equivalent of a soccer match, Roma’s home finale had it all: an early goal, the return of Leonardo Spinazzola to the starting lineup, red cards, shots off the crossbar—you get the picture. And while you would’ve expected Roma to come away with all three points prior to kickoff—particularly in the context of Venezia’s relegation being confirmed earlier in the day by virtue of Salernita’s draw with Empoli—it wasn’t to be, as the Giallorossi were held to a single goal on a whooping 46 shot attempts.
It didn’t take long for the action to kick off in this one, as Roma’s old nemesis, an early goal for the opponent, reared its ugly head once again, this time in the first minute. Surely as Romanisti at the match were still filing into their seats, Mattia Aramu found himself in possession at the top of the box, with all the time in the world at his disposal. A pinpoint cross into the box a moment later and Venezia found themselves in the lead courtesy of a glancing header from David Okereke. Given Roma’s struggles in climbing out of early deficits this season, you certainly knew this would now be an uphill climb for the Giallorossi—even with Venezia having nothing to play for.
To their credit, the visitors did their best to make things easier for Roma, as Venezia midfielder Sofian Kiyine got himself sent off in the 32nd minute for a kick on Lorenzo Pellegrini that can only be described as both extremely painful and one that’d make The League’s Rafi squeal in delight.
With almost 60 minutes at their disposal to overturn the deficit and ultimately go on to claim all three points, Roma threw everything and the kitchen sink at Venezia. But as is so often the case for this team when they concede early, they found themselves unable to break down a stubborn Venezia defense, despite the man advantage and several attempts off the woodwork—Pellegrini himself the unfortunate victim of having two of his free-kick attempts hitting the crossbar.
With time dwindling down and Roma running out of options off the bench, it was the often criticized Eldor Shomurodov who came in to save the day, first with a lovely flick onto Pellegrini to send the Roma captain in on goal, and then to be in the right place for the rebound off of Pellegrini’s saved attempt, allowing Eldor to bury the equalizer home.
With fifteen minutes plus stoppage time left to get a second goal, you would've felt confident in Roma securing all three points on the evening, but it wasn't to be as the Giallorossi just weren’t clinical enough on the evening—the game finishing all square. And while the stadium seemed primed to celebrate at the onset of the match, the mood had grown somber by the end of it—the players themselves seeming crestfallen to the point that you’d have thought they lost the Champions League Final. So while the result leaves a sour taste in the mouth, it is wonderful to see just how much these players care about this club.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the highlights below. If you want a deeper look, here is the extended highlight package.