Back from the international break, Roma traded their normal late evening kick-off time for a mid-day match, with the opening whistle against Monza sounding off at 12:30 PM local time, giving those of us in the Western Hemisphere a difficult choice to make: Do we wake up at 6:30 in the morning on a Sunday to watch our beloved Roma or stay blissfully asleep? I chose the latter, so please forgive me for the punctuated review.
With sixty-thousand strong filling a sun-drenched Stadio Olimpico, Roma had a golden opportunity today, as three points would see them vault over Monza in the standings, moving ever closer to Italy's European places.
Despite the picture-perfect setting, Roma struggled in the opening half an hour, managing only three shots on goal through the opening 30 minutes, with two of those attempts coming from well outside the area. While Roma would ratchet up the pressure late in the first half, they were denied by Michele Di Gregorio, who robbed Houssem Aouar with a split-second reaction save on the goal line, denying the Algerian's flying header.
Roma would catch a lucky break in the 41st minute when Danilo D'Ambrosio was sent off for accumulated yellows after a rough challenge on Andrea Belotti, who nearly made Monza pay in stoppage time, only to be denied by another stunning Di Gregorio save.
Still, with 45 minutes left to play and a numerical advantage, luck should have favored Roma. However, it took nearly every waking second for the capital club to draw first blood, as Stephan El Shaarawy scored an emphatic match-winner in the 90th minute, lashing onto a bounding ball in the box, burying it past a now-hapless Di Gregorio to give Roma their third-straight league win.
So if, like me, you chose to remain the sack, please enjoy the match highlights!