Entering last week's Champions League group stage fixture against PSG at the Parc des Princes, Roma was riding an incredible heater, ripping off a 15-match unbeaten streak to start the season, including a perfect league record. While they remain undefeated in Serie A, the Parisiens upended Roma last Thursday in a frustrating 2-1 defeat. With penalties conceded and penalties missed, the Giallorosse had the game in hand but couldn't overcome those unforced errors and fell one point behind Bayern Munich in the group of death.
Undaunted by that defeat, Roma overcame a surprisingly stiff test from Como on Sunday, erasing two one-goal deficits to walk away 3-2 winners, maintaining their perfect league record. While they did well to survive that scare, Alessandro Spugna's side didn't have time to reflect on that match, not with the return leg against PSG on the docket today.
Sitting in second place, one point behind group leaders Bayern Munich, Roma needed a positive result today to keep pace with the German giants. After 15-20 mostly inconsequential minutes, with both sides struggling to find fluidity in transition, the Parisiens caught the first break in the 27th minute.
With former Inter Milan striker Tabitha Chawinga bursting through the defense chasing a chipped ball, Roma keeper Camelia Ceasar had a chance to smother the ball (or at least parry it away) before Chawinga got her boot to it. Still, she hesitated ever so slightly, giving the Chawinga an opening and PSG the early lead.
Roma had a chance to level several minutes later when Giugliano crashed into the penalty area before whipping a right-to-left ball across the face of the goal toward Evelyne Viens at the opposite post. Still, the Canadian forward couldn't match the pace and wasted the chance, though she came close 10 minutes later, forcing PSG keeper Katarzyna Kiedrznek into a hasty save.
Kiedrznek would deny Manuela Giugliano several minutes later after the Roma captain fired a daisy-clipper towards the right post, missing a goal by a matter of inches. With the first half winding down, Roma was left frustrated by near misses and one momentary lapse of judgment at the back.
Roma's first chance of the second half would see Annamaria Serturini carve out space on the left edge of the box, once again forcing Kiedrznek into a snap save. Unfortunately, as she did in the first half, the PSG netminder was up to the task, turning away Serturini's snap-shot.
Moments later, Valentina Giacinti found space in the right channel, sprinting down the pitch and staying one step ahead of the trailing defender. But, once again, Kiedrznek stood tall, denying Roma's number nine.
And in grand Roma fashion, when the missed chances pile up, it's not long before the opponent capitalizes on theirs. Once again, it was Chawinga doing the damage, as the PSG forward battered her way through the Roma defense, drawing four Giallorosse defenders to the edge of the box before slipping the ball through to Marie Antoinette Katoto to double PSG's lead.
Unfortunately, it didn't get any better for Roma after that. While Spugna made a pair of changes to ostensibly inspire the squad, bringing Benedetta Glionna and Laura Feiersinger into the mix, the match was too far gone by that point. However, Manuela Giugliano treated us to a beautifully struck free-kick goal before all was said and done.
After four rounds of play, Roma sits in fourth place (4 pts), trailing Bayern Munich (5 pts), PSG (6 pts) and Ajax (7 pts). The Giallorosse jump back into Champions League action on January 24th when they host Bayern Munich before wrapping up the group stage on the 30th against Ajax—consider both matches to be must-wins.
In case you missed the match, please “enjoy” the highlights.