No real burn burners in this round so the nod goes to one of the matches that had the highest profile, Roma-Milan, which was also decently entertaining and pretty telling for both sides.
The Giallorossi were looking to return to winning ways after drawing in the previous two contests against Cagliari and Sampdoria, while the Devil equalized against Lecce in Stefano Pioli’s debut, with the opponents scoring in the stoppage time. The new coach confirmed last week’s line-up, therefore Andrea Conti manned the right flank even though Davide Calabria was available and Rafael Leao spearheaded the front-line. Paulo Fonseca instead continues to navigate through absences and used Gianluca Mancini in the midfield like in Europa League, rested Alessandro Florenzi with Leonardo Spinazzola starting at right back and replaced the disqualified Justin Kluivert with Diego Perotti on the left wing.
The guests slightly had the upper hand in the first section of the game, but did not capitalize. Hakan Calhanoglu smacked Lucas Paqueta in the head on a thunderous and promising effort from outside the box, while Rafael Leao’s attempt was tipped away by Pau Lopez. La Lupa instead had their first chances with Javier Pastore, who however sent a wicked half volley from medium range wide and could not find the target with a cross-shot after stripping Frank Kessie in the box.
The home team revved up near half-time and, after Gianluigi Donnarumma rejected a brilliant strike from distance by Nicolò Zaniolo, they broke through with Edin Dzeko, who was left all alone on the far post on a corner kick and headed it home after a flick-on by Mancini. Things almost unravelled for the Rossoneri as Perotti set up Pastore for an easy finish in a one-on-one, but Donnarumma denied him with his chest while coming out furiously.
In the second half, Aleksandar Kolarov almost scored on a deflected free kick, then Chris Smalling did not find the target on a pretty easy header on a corner kick. Going against the run of play, Milan knotted the game up with an extemporary goal at the 55th minute, as Calabria picked out Theo Hernandez in the box and his shot was rerouted by Smalling, becoming uncatchable.
However, four minutes later, the young Italian fullback contributed to giving Roma the lead back as his errant pass was picked off by Dzeko in the final third, the feed of the striker was nudged by Mateo Musacchio, perfectly setting up Zaniolo for a dazzling left finish from 16 meters out that wrong-footed Donnarumma.
Pioli trotted out Krzysztof Piatek for Lucas Paqueta, but La Lupa came close to sealing the deal with Gianluca Mancini, who wasted his opportunity to score on a corner kick, and then again with Zaniolo, whose effort was within the goalie’s reach this time.
Calhanoglu was the only Milan player with some life down the stretch, but he was unable to knock it on goal on a trailer and then on a sharp free kick from the left-hand side of the pitch.
With this result, Roma stay in fifth position, keep up with Lazio and close the gap with Napoli, which are in front by just one point. Milan are instead 12th, five points away from Europa League zone. In the midweek round, the Magica will take on Udinese away, while the Rossoneri will host SPAL on Thursday.
In the fantasy game, the Giallorossi scorers Dzeko and Zaniolo collected four points, while, as far as Milan was concerned, Hernandez gathered three, while Calabria one for the assist as they were both booked.
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