Roma 1-0 Bologna: Tough Roma defence proved too hard to crack

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Going into the game with two straight losses we knew that a third loss in a row would be very damaging to both the moral of the team, and our league position. Roma’s defence proved too tough to crack for Bologna though, as El-Shaarawy stunner decided the game for the Giallorossi.

Roberto Donadoni made six changes for the matchup with Roma. Godfred Donsah went out injured just before half-time against Lazio, and were replaced by Adam Nagy. The Hungarian continued in that role against Roma, and Andrea Poli also stepped into the team again, after resting against Lazio. There was also a change in the defence, with Giancarlo Gonzalez stepping in again after his suspension. As reported before the game, Angelo Da Costa replaced Antonio Mirante. Federico Di Francesco replaced Ladislav Krejci on the left-wing, lining up against his father on the Roma bench. The last change was up front, with Bruno Petkovic replacing Mattia Destro.

First half:
Great kickoff by Bologna going straight into attack, with Di Francesco shooting wide after 20 secs. Roma with most of the ball, but not a lot happened the first ten minutes. Verdi was positive, as he tried to create chances and worked hard. Roma a bit sloppy on the ball so far in the first half, allowing Bologna to counter a couple of times. 24′ good chance to Roma, Defrel straight at Da Costa. Roma with most of the ball, but Bologna good when winning the ball, creating half-chances. 28′ Dzeko missed sitter on corner, nobody there to mark him. Di Francesco had 3 chances in the first 30′.  32′ Bologna really close to scoring after a corner, Allison with a great save on a Masina header.  A minute later, Roma score on a corner, volley by El-Shaarawy. Not much else happened after the goal before the break.

Second half:
Roma starting well, El-Shaarawy with a shot on the counter, but wide.  Yellows for Poli and Pulgar in the first five minutes. 52′ Dzeko goal disallowed for offside (VAR). 57′ Falletti in for Nagy. Donadoni changed formation to 4-2-3-1.  Bologna a bit worse so far in the second half, bit more sloppy on the ball, not creating much. Helander with some great defending on Dzeko when through on goal. 68′ Petkovic yellow for simulation. 72′ Helander yellow. 80′ Donsah on for Poli, apparently not injured anymore. Counter for Bologna, but Petkovic lost the ball inside the box. 85′ Destro in for Petkovic.  89′ Freekick Bologna, Verdi took it, but his shot went over the bar. Four minutes added on. Nothing more happened. Roma been much better defensively in the second half, not the same space for counterattacks.

What we learned:
Verdi and Di Francesco both really good in the first half, causing trouble for Roma, especially on the counter. Interesting that Di Francesco often played as the striker, with Petkovic on the right hand side. Pulgar excellent, Nagy good on the ball, Masina and Krafth both good. Da Costa excellent, good passing. We should have scored when Allison saved Masina’s header. The was overall much better than against Lazio, creating several more chances, being very good on the counter. In the second half we continued to be solid in defence, and passed the ball well. However, Roma denied us the same space on the counter, and we therefore did not create as many chances as in the first half.
What was very good with last nights game was the fact that we played well for ninety minutes. The team rarely misplaced passes, several of the attacking players created chances for each other, and there was great movement overall. In addition to this, the work-rate of the whole team was excellent. However, this game is part of a larger trend this season. Starting with the Napoli game, then Inter, and finally Roma last night. We play well against the stronger teams, but do not take our chances, but the opponent do.
We should have been more clinical up front, and Roma scoring a minute after our biggest chance of the game is very symptomatic of our problem. Donadoni touched upon our lack of ruthlessness after the game:

We gave Roma little and we often got into dangerous areas, but we then were lacked something in our finishing.

This seems to be our biggest problem at the moment, and if we can start scoring goals, we can climb higher up the table. Donadoni also touched upon benching Destro:

Destro? There’s competition in every role, he needs to keep working as he has the ability and possibility to find space in the team.

I have to admit, I was happy to see Petkovic starting over Destro last night. When Palacio’s out injured, the Croatian should be first choice. Anyway, if Destro can find his best form, he should be able to fight his way back into the team. Federico Di Francesco also talked about our lack of goalscoring:

I attacked the space around their goal often and looked to shoot a lot, I really want to do well and always be useful for Bologna but I know that I need to score more.

He played very well last night, causing a lot of trouble for the Roma defence, and if he can add goals to his game, he we’ll start dominating the league.

We played well for 90 minutes, something which we have not done in the last couple of games. Well done!
– Much better passing throughout the entire game. This is a huge positive. Against Atalanta we were sloppy throughout, against Lazio only the second half was good, but last night was much better overall. And with better passing comes more chances.
– Di Francesco and Verdi causing havoc upfront. The two played really well upfront, and Di Francesco often stepped into the central role up front, with Petkovic moving out to the right hand side. Let’s hope they both keep it up.
– Da Costa stepping into the lineup, and playing very well. His distribution was a joy to watch. Mirante need to perform, or else the GK spot is Da Costa’s to take.

– Our marking on defensive corners. Dzeko close to scoring in the first half without anyone picking him up, exactly the same on El-Shaarawy’s goal.
– Not being clinical enough. We need to start scoring. No goal against Atalanta, one, albeit an own goal, against Lazio, and no goal yesterday. Against Roma we did create chances though, and Masina should have scored. We also should have taken advantage of all the counterattacks we had, particularly in the first half.

Best Rossoblù:
Federico Di Francesco: Very difficult to choose between our two wingers Di Francesco and Verdi. They both created trouble for Roma time and time again, but I landed on Di Francesco as his dribbling was excellent, his passing was great, and he created a lot of chances. He should have scored though, something he talked about after the game.

Next game, what to expect:
This was the last game of October, and we now go into a month of only three games. The last three games have been tough for Bologna, playing against the 2nd, 4th and 5th best teams from last season. 0 points came out of them, but there is no crisis, and we soon have an opportunity to win again. We’re currently in 11th, and if Torino win today we’ll go down to 12th. This is not that bad, especially since we have a run of easier games coming up. First, we play at home against Crotone, a match that should be won. After some difficult results in the last three games, this game is essential. After that we travel to Verona to play Hellas. This is also a match that we should win, before the last game of the month is home against Sampdoria. This is the most difficult game of the month, but seven points should be the minimum target for these three games.

Check out Donadoni’s epic skill in the 75th minute of the game (on Sempre Bologna’s twitter feed), when he volleys the ball with his heel behind his back. The coach still got it!

That is all for today, I’ll be back tomorrow! What did you think of Bologna’s performance against Roma? Who was your man of the match? Comment below, or on our twitter page!


Photo: Bologna FC

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