Spinazzola makes amends for error to keep Roma on course for Champions League qualification

It was a week in which Roma realised that they wouldn’t be winning the Serie A title this season despite their earlier efforts in the campaign which had suggested that they could be contenders.

However at the same time no one but Inter looks like claiming the league title now not even 9 time champions Juventus who have themselves slipped 10 points behind Antonio Conte’s side.

For Roma now their objective has to be about qualifying for the Champions League and currently they are just 2 points from that target with Atalanta directly in their way. Roma played two games during this past week one was a defeat and one was a win.

The Giallorossi’s first match was at home to Milan, in 2nd place. It was a game that ended in a 2-1 defeat. By far at least in the 1st half Milan was the superior team, inventive and full of hunger for the win and it was a difficult moment for Paulo Fonseca’s side. However they almost went in at half time at 0-0.

But Roma gave away a penalty after a challenge by Federico Fazio. At first the referee saw nothing in the challenge but VAR did and upon review he changed his mind. Franck Kessie who has been on form for Milan made no mistakes from the spot and Milan went in at half time in the lead.

Just five minutes into the 2nd half however Jordan Veretout made it 1-1. Leonardo Spinazzola assisted for the goal and Veretout shot from the edge of the area. It wasn’t the most powerful shot and 8 times out of ten it would have been stopped, but it made its way through the crowd of defenders and beat the keeper and suddenly Roma, who had not played so well were level.

However Milan would get the final say as just past the hour mark Ante Rebic made it 2-1 with a clean powerful shot from the edge of the area and it was a fine goal. Roma would play better in the second half but the match just went away from them and petered out in the end. It was a bad loss from Roma and they needed to bounce back quickly, and thankfully for them they did.

The match up was against Fiorentina, always a tricky encounter and with Roma losing 2-1 to Milan, they made amends here and won this game by the same score line. The talk of the match though was about Leonardo Spinazzola who scored an own goal but later made amends by scoring for his club and helping them to earn 3 points.

Spinazzola opened the scoring early in the 2nd half but by the hour marked had levelled up the game for the home side. Roma were far the better side and were motivated to win the game but it looked destined to finish as a draw. However Amadou Diawara scored his 1st goal of the season for the club in the 90th minute and what a time to open his scoring account for the club. The players were overjoyed and the game was won.

Roma’s next match is at home to Genoa at the weekend and they will be the odds on favourites to win that. The last time the clubs met at Stadio Olimpico the game finished 3-3 and earlier in the season in the reverse fixture Roma won 3-1. Genoa have not beaten Roma in Serie A since 2014.

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Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round Six

Atalanta: Marten De Roon strained the adductor in his left thigh and will sit out the next two matches. Cristiano Piccini picked up a similar issue while trying to gain some shape. Robin Gosens is out with a late calf problem. 

Benevento: Iago Falque and Federico Barba will stay on the mend with their physical issues, while Gabriel Moncini returned midweek. 

Bologna: Federico Santander underwent reconstructive surgery on the right knee after spraining it midweek and will return in the Spring. Among their injured players, Gary Medel (calf) is the closest to recovering, but he might need another week. Andreas Skov Olsen (back) and Andrea Poli (fibula) could return after the second international break. Ibrahima Mbaye (thigh) and Nicola Sansone (hip) are late scratches.  Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round Five

Atalanta: Matteo Pessina returned in Champions League from a late-season patellar dislocation. Ruslan Malinovskyi had an old scar in his adductor flare up and missed the previous game, but he is set to be available SaturdayCristiano Piccini (knee) could return sooner rather than later, while Pierluigi Gollini (knee) is at least two weeks away.

Benevento: Nicolas Viola has resumed practicing after his meniscus surgery and made the squad list. Gabriele Moncini and Federico Barba are out again to muscular problems and are joined in that regard by Iago Falque.  Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round Four

Atalanta: Aleksey Miranchuk is set to be available after missing the first three matches with a thigh strain. Cristiano Piccini and Matteo Pessina have resumed practicing regularly following knee injuries and they too will return soon. Josip Ilicic is getting closer and closer, but the information on him is not always solid. Rafael Toloi is out of the quarantine after skipping the previous game, while Marco Carnesecchi has COVID. Mattia Caldara partially tore the patellar tendon in the left knee and will not be back before 2021.

Benevento: Andres Tello is be back after missing some time with ailments, but Federico Barba is still out. Gabriel Moncini will skip a game or two due to an adductor strain. Nicolas Viola needs more time to recover from a meniscus tear. Continue reading

Serie A Injury and Suspension Report – Round Three

Atalanta: Pierluigi Gollini (PCL tear), Aleksey Miranchuk (thigh strain) and Matteo Pessina (patellar dislocation) will once again be unavailable and the coach raised some concern regarding Cristiano Piccini, who has not been able to practice fully since joining. The fact that they are signing another player in his role does not bode well for his timetable. The team announced that somebody tested positive but did not disclose whom: Mattia Caldara and Rafael Toloi are absent out of the blue. 

Benevento: Federico Barba returned midweek but subbed off in the first half and has been ruled out. Andres Tello (thigh) and Oliver Kragl (neck) are again sidelined. Nicolas Viola (meniscus) might not be back for the first game after the break. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round Two – Remaining Games

SAMPDORIA-BENEVENTO

Sampdoria: the Blucerchiati tried to stay close in the Juventus clash but, despite a moderate surge at the beginning of the season half, they were not threatening. The coach kept initially Fabio Quagliarella and Gaston Ramirez on the bench and that was costly. The Uruguayan had some good plays upon subbing in and he is generally the stick that stirs the pot for them, as they do not have much creativity throughout the roster. Federico Bonazzoli struggled as main reference point, Fabio Depaoli, Mehdi Leris and Jakub Jankto did not much of note. However, in an easier match-up, Jankto and Morten Thorsby could be more proactive. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round One

FIORENTINA-TORINO

Fiorentina: despite not changing all that much, the Viola have brought in some new interesting pieces during the transfer market window, such as Sofyan Amrabat, who is suspended in this one, Giacomo Bonaventura and Cristiano Biraghi, who seems poised to stay after a solid season at Inter. However, their coach and attack are the same, which means we can expect something akin to what happened in the restart, where Franck Ribery and Gaetano Castrovilli served as the main playmakers, Federico Chiesa was the most consistent scorer, while Christian Kouame, Dusan Vlahovic and Patrick Cutrone, all capable but otherworldly strikers, fight for one spot. The ex-Genoa forward seems to have separated himself from the pack a little during the summer. Bonaventura is supremely sneaky.

Suggested picks: Chiesa, Ribery, Kouame. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 37

PARMA-ATALANTA

Parma: Dejan Kulusevski willed them to victory, again, versus the lowly Brescia with an assist and a scorcher and he is finishing his stay in style, while Gervinho has been pretty paltry in recent matches, scoring just once in the last seven. Gianluca Caprari took advantage of his increased minutes and converted a PK, while among the other back-ups Luca Siligardi has been the liveliest. Roberto Inglese is tough to trust since his minutes are still spotty. Juraj Kucka returned from a short absence and he and Jasmin Kurtic are surely capable of doing damage offensively. Matteo Darmian is coming off his first goal of the season and also Riccardo Gagliolo notched one lately but their fullbacks will have their hands full defensively in this one.

Suggested picks: Kulusevski, Kucka, Caprari. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 36 – Early Games

MILAN-ATALANTA

Milan: the Rossoneri came out on top again versus Sassuolo, exploiting the one-man advantage like the veteran team they are. Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted a brace to snap out of a short slump and Hakan Calhanoglu continued to do his thing with two more assists. The Turk has been raining hellfire for a while now, while Ante Rebic’s scoring binge has abated a little bit, but he obviously remains a strong option. They will not have two key men in Ismael Bennacer and Theo Hernandez and their replacements are not on the fantasy radar. Alexis Saelemaekers and Franck Kessie also found the target recently, but in easier match-ups. Giacomo Bonaventura has picked up few bonuses but he is a risky play because of his sporadic minutes.

Suggested picks: Calhanoglu, Ibrahimovic, Rebic. Continue reading

Serie A Fantasy Preview – Round 35

ATALANTA-BOLOGNA

Atalanta: they were stymied a bit by their mini clones of Verona, but Duvan Zapata still came through, scoring for the third game in a row, and they had few chances to win it especially with Mario Pasalic, who was coming off a hat-trick. Ruslan Malinovskyi was not as effective in the Josip Ilicic’s role, while he had shined as pure no.10, in lieu of Alejandro Gomez, and that is something to monitor because El Papu does not rest often, while Ilicic is in poor conditions and will be managed cautiously. Luis Muriel might be a better candidate for that spot, while Pasalic is always very involved offensively whenever he is fielded. No doubts on the flanks this round around since Hans Hateboer is suspended and both Robin Gosens and Timothy Castagne are strong options.

Suggested picks: Zapata, Gomez, Muriel. Continue reading