Well, can’t win ‘em all, right? With a massive second leg clash against Leicester City in the semifinals of the Europa Conference League coming up in midweek, Mourinho turned to his bench, opting to rotate much of his first choice eleven. And while the match was about as exciting as a scoreless draw can get, the Giallorossi ultimately did not have enough on the day to beat a pesky Bologna side—one that has somewhat played the role of giant killers in recent weeks, drawing against Milan and Juventus, while also beating reigning champs Inter.
The first half, and the likely story coming out of the match, was defined by the refereeing display, with the first questionable call on the evening coming right from the off, as what looked like a clear Gary Medel handball in the box was determined not to be worth taking a look at by VAR, setting the stage for a frustrating evening with the official—with a run by Ainsely Maitland-Niles that resulted in the wing-back being tripped up in the box being similarly non-called. And while Roma certainly looked like the more dangerous of the two sides in the first half, the visitors were not without their chances, with Marko Arnautovic looking particularly threatening and forcing Rui Patricio into several saves.
While you would’ve preferred that Mourinho had the option to rest his key players for the entirety of the match, it wasn’t to be, as the Special One opted to bring on Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nicola Zalewski, Rick Karsdorp, and Tammy Abraham all in one swoop shortly into the second half. Sure enough, the tide began to turn in Roma’s favor with the introduction of the quartet, making it seem like it would be a question of when, not if, Roma would score on the evening. Unfortunately, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before, some heroics from former Roma keeper Lukasz Skorupski held the Giallorossi at bay, denying Marash Kumbulla what looked like a sure goal off a header from a Pellegrini corner kick. Five minutes of extra time saw Roma come ever so close to stealing a winner—a Pellegrini volley attempt being the closest of the bunch—but it wasn’t meant to be, as the game remained scoreless as the final whistle blew.
While the draw keeps Roma in fifth place, level on points with Lazio, the result officially eliminates the Giallorossi from the Champions League race, with Napoli and Juve joining the two Milan sides in next year’s edition of the competition.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the highlights below. If you want a deeper look, here is the extended highlight package.