Given the heavy rotation in preparation for Wednesday’s Europa League final, you would think Roma went into the match at peace with the prospect of dropping points to Fiorentina, especially playing away with only the slimmest of chances of making top-four.
But a late collapse that saw Roma minutes away from a confidence-boosting win, only to throw away a one-goal lead and ultimately lose 2-1 on the evening, is certainly not the result that José Mourinho and Co. wanted to take going into their match against Sevilla.
With all of Roma’s eggs in the Europa League basket, Mourinho opted to field the B-team, with Bryan Cristante and Gianluca Mancini on the bench and Lorenzo Pellegrini left out of the squad entirely.
Roma would open the scoring just two minutes into the match, as Andrea Belotti would put in a cross to the back-post, where Ola Solbakken was able to rise up and head the ball down to Stephan El Shaarawy for the easy finish.
The remainder of the first half would see Roma sit back and look to hit Fiorentina on the counter, a tried-and-true strategy for Roma in the José Mourinho era. But despite several moments where Roma looked to threaten on the break, the Giallorossi were unable to score another and add to their lead, a missed opportunity that would come back to haunt them.
The second half saw Roma content to sit on their lead and continue to look to hit Fiorentina on the counter. With Fiorentina also in a position where their focus was elsewhere, specifically their upcoming Conference League final against West Ham, the result seemed to be a mere formality for Roma. Fiorentina would win the possession battle as they probed for an equalizer, but we’ve seen Roma lock down the result often enough that you felt comfortable Roma would see the result out, especially as Mourinho would bring on Cristante, Mancini, and Roger Ibañez to shore up the result.
But with five minutes to spare, Roma would hearken back to the Roma teams of the past, collapsing in quick fashion to throw away the result. In an eerily similar sequence to Roma’s goal, Fiorentina’s Milenković would find Mandragora at the back-post, with the midfielder able to head the cross back across goal, finding Luka Jovic, who was able to steer the ball in the back of the net.
With the match now turned on its head and the home crowd pushing them on to find the winner, Fiorentina continued to put the pressure on Roma, and just three minutes later, the home side would take the lead as Terzić would beat Filippo Missori, and fire in a cross to the back-post, this time with Kouamé heading the ball across-goal to Ikone, and with Ibañez whiffing completely on the clearance attempt, Ikone was able to tap in the winner and sink the Giallorossi.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the highlights below. The official league highlights are available here.