Roma's title defense got off to a complicated yet ultimately roaring start. With their bitter rivals Juventus kicking off matchday one with a taut 3-2 victory over lowly Pomigliano, the pressure was on the Giallorosse to keep up with the Old Lady. It may have only been the first 90 minutes of the season, but if the past few years are any indication, Roma and Juventus will fight tooth and nail to lay claim to the Scudetto.
And for the opening half hour or so in Milan, Roma looked poised to blow the Rossoneri off the pitch. While Manuela Giugliano nearly started the party in the 17th minute with a sensational curled effort towards the far left post, the capital club would have to wait an additional 20 minutes before drawing blood, but what a stunning goal it was.
With Giugliano whipping a free kick towards the right edge of the area, club captain Elisa Bartoli crouched down and redirected the ball with a glancing header, setting up Elena Linari at the opposite post for a tap-in goal. It was a sensational effort all around. From the precise delivery to Bartoli's brilliantly flicked ball to Linari's finish.
But reigning league MVP Emilie Haavi topped them several minutes later, forcing the Milan defense into a turnover deep in the final third before settling the ball, shielding it from two defenders, and ripping a shot toward the near post, pushing Roma's first-half advantage to two-nil.
Things got a bit dicey for Roma in the second half, with Milan scratching and clawing their way back into the match thanks to a pair of goals from Chante Dampig and Gloria Marinelli. Dampig's goal, a low shot from the edge of the box, appeared to catch Roma keeper Camelia Ceasar napping, as she was slow to react and watched helplessly as the ball skipped past her towards the far right post. While incredibly slow to develop, Marinelli's goal benefitted from a scrum in the box, effectively screening Ceasar from the ball until the final moments.
However, as the old saying goes, it's always darkest before the dawn. With her side facing a disappointing opening-day draw, Giada Greggi scored a stunning goal from distance. After a clever little one-two with Giugliano, Greggi found a tiny pocket of space some 20 yards out from goal before gently dropping an exquisitely dipping shot past Laura Giuliani's outstretched hands.
Bendetta Glionna tacked on a stoppage-time insurance goal to give Roma an exhilarating 4-2 victory on opening day, kicking off the season where the last one ended: on top of the table.