The Giallorossi were handed a golden opportunity today, facing 13th-place Sassuolo after Inter, Lazio, and Atalanta dropped points. Yet that opportunity was squandered, with Roma losing 4-3 to the Neroverdi thanks to a brace from Armand Laurienté, a red card against Marash Kumbulla, and a questionable penalty kick awarded to Domenico Berardi. This win is Sassuolo’s first against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, and the four goals scored by Alessio Dionisi’s men nearly double the number of goals the Giallorossi have allowed at home this season.
There were some positives to this match, however. Nicola Zalewski’s first senior goal for the Giallorossi brought a smile to my face, even though I’m still quite worried about the club’s insistence on playing him out of position. Paulo Dybala also scored quite a goal to start the second half, which made it seem like the Giallorossi still had a snowball’s chance in hell of at least turning this match into a draw. Still, it’s incredibly frustrating to watch this club throw away chance after chance to solidify a position in the Champions League slots, or even to secure second place for the season.
Today’s loss leaves Roma tied with AC Milan for fourth place and two points behind their crosstown rivals, making next week’s Derby Della Capitale even more crucial than usual for Roma’s Champions League aspirations.
They also have to officially stamp their ticket for the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday when they travel to San Sebastian to face Real Sociedad yet again; with Mourinho available for the Europa League match and not the Serie A derby, it’s an open question of how that might shift Roma’s game plans for both matches.
Steve and I will be discussing today’s match on Across the Romaverse this evening, so expect to hear more about how frustrating these Giallorossi can be soon!