Roma achieved the improbable last week by qualifying for the Europa League final, in what will be their second European Cup final in as many years. The match against Bayer Leverkusen required a Herculean effort from Roma, who put in a masterclass in defensive football that was equally exhausting as it was nervy to watch.
So if there was ever a match you could bank on Roma dropping points it was certainly going to be this one, but in any case, let’s take a look at three things I noticed from Roma’s draw with Salernitana.
#1: Hindsight Can be a Cruel Mistress
Not long after the final whistle blew in Roma’s draw with Salernitana, it was announced that Juventus would be deducted 10 points following a verdict by the Federal Court of Appeal related to Juve’s capital gains case. The decision sees the Turin club drop all the way down to 7th in the table, one point behind Roma with two to play.
While that’s all well and good, particularly for the anti-Juventus crowd, the ruling makes the Salernitana result a missed opportunity in hindsight. A win likely would’ve seen Roma now in pole position for top-four given the remaining schedules at play for the various teams in the race.
Who knows if Roma would have won if they knew they’d be handed a lifeline beforehand. Regardless, the decision and impact on Roma still leave a sour taste in the mouth.
#2: Welcome Back, Stephan
Man, did I miss Il Faraone. The winger has been out due to injury - one that was initially projected to keep him out the rest of the season - but returned to action against Salernitana, playing the full 90 and scoring Roma’s opening goal of the match.
He’s been inconsistent throughout his Roma tenure and there’s discussion on whether he warrants a new deal, but SES’ value is clear when he’s able to get right back on the scoresheet and put in a full-shift after an extended time out.
I’m not saying pay the man whatever he wants, but Roma can ill-afford to lose SES given their collective struggles going forward.
#3: Am I Seeing Double?
Speaking of troubles going forward, it shouldn’t go unnoticed that Monday’s match against Salernitana was the first Roma match since their 4-1 victory over Feyenoord that the Giallorossi scored more than one goal, with SES and Nemanja Matic both getting on the scoresheet.
There’s a long list of reasons why Roma have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net, and the Giallorossi’s struggle to do so has been a constant theme throughout the season, so no need to rehash them here. But Roma will need someone to score come next Wednesday, so despite the 2-2 draw, getting multiple names on the scoresheet for the first time since April 20 is certainly a positive we can takeaway and look to build on against Fiorentina.
Well, that’s all from me. Roma travel to Fiorentina at the weekend in their last match before that all-important final against Sevilla, so it’ll be interesting to see how Mourinho approaches this one. Will he play it as a tune-up match in the build-up to the final or will The Special One trot out a line-up of mostly Primavera players to ensure Roma arrive at the final as rested and full-strength as possible?