Sitting in 10th place and sporting a -3 goal differential, Monza isn't you're typical newly-promoted club struggling to keep their heads above water and happy just to play the game. Led by the goalkeeping heroics of Michele Di Gregorio, the Biancorossi are punching above their weight class, sitting comfortably in the middle of the league table, ahead of Serie A mainstays like Sassuolo, Torino, and Udinese, to name a few.
Considering all that, we shouldn't have expected a cakewalk when José Mourinho's walking wounded took the pitch at the U-Power stadium. Still, even with Paulo Dybala and Chris Smalling absent with injury, fielding a side with Stephan El Shaarawy, Tammy Abraham, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Leonardo Spinazzola should have been enough to get the job done in Lombardy this evening.
Despite those notable absences, the Giallorossi started strong, firing seven shots at Di Gregorio's net in the first twenty-some-odd minutes. Following one of the strangest sequences you'll ever see, Roma found paydirt in the 24th minute.
With Di Gregorio casually controlling the ball in his box, he either didn't notice or didn't think Tammy Abraham was a threat. Still, thanks to the Englishman's harried pressing, Di Gregorio coughed up the ball inside the penalty area. With the ball slowly rolling towards El Shaarawy near the penalty spot, Di Gregorio awoke from his slumber, diving at El Shaarawy's feet as the Roma winger tried in vain to fire the ball at the near-empty net.
While El Shaarawy managed to maintain possession, in his haste, he fired a soft left-footed shot toward the goal, which was quickly turned away by Monza center-back Pablo Mari. Fortunately for the Pharaoh, Mari's clearance landed right at his feet, making for an easy put-back goal for SES.
But Roma's joy wouldn't last long, as Monza equalized 15 minutes later with a ho-hum goal, just a center-back unleashing a left-footed one-timed volley off a 40-yard free-kick. You know, Roma stuff.
Roma may have laid another egg, but thanks to Milan doing nearly the same thing against Cremonese (at least Milan was the side storming back), they're not that much worse off than they were this morning—sitting in 7th place, smack dab in the middle of a three-team pileup on 58 points.
If you missed any of the action and you have the stomach for it, please try to enjoy the match highlights.