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Friday March 17 2017
Giallorossi never learn

Roma were genuine contenders for Europa League glory and must take lessons from their avoidable exit, writes Nick Valerio.

As Alexandre Lacazette thundered in a spectacular finish during the dying embers of the first leg, the outlook of the contest had shifted. Lyon, a capable but by no means formidable side, produced a fine performance and mauled their Italian counterparts in a 4-2 victory which highlighted both teams in contrasting fashion.

Alongside Manchester United, Roma could quite rightly consider themselves as favourites for the competition, such is the talent at Luciano Spalletti’s disposal. But, herein lies the problem. The Giallorossi underestimated their opponents and played within themselves, assuming this would be enough to reach the quarter-finals.

If Roma harbour any real ambition of competing with Europe’s elite, they must beat teams of Lyon’s standing, and more importantly, change their mind-set. From one to eleven, the capital club is stronger than the Ligue 1 outfit, but this isn’t enough. L’OL showed heart and fight and this proved too much for Roma.

Yet, even with a two-goal deficit, Spalletti’s men will have been quietly confident of overpowering Lyon in the deciding showdown, such is their ability to score at will. Roma got off to the worst of starts and it was a familiar face who opened the scoring at the Stadio Olimpico. Lessons were not learned, despite the assurances of studying their mistakes from the first leg, as Mouctar Diakhaby headed in a near replica of his opening goal a week ago. The defender was afforded the luxury of the penalty area and what previously looked a surmountable task for the hosts now appeared near impossible.

Roma do not help themselves and the defensive lapses in concentration have cost them dearly in recent weeks. To their credit, they did respond immediately through Kevin Strootman, and with 70 minutes on the clock had time on their side.

For the neutral, the match was a riveting watch, as both groups of players took it in turns to attack. Roma eventually took the lead on the night through an own goal via Lucas Tousart but Lyon more than held their own and didn’t sacrifice their forward-thinking.

Perhaps Spalletti thought Lyon would adopt a more defensive stance and was caught off guard. For this, opposite number Bruno Genesio should be applauded. The Lyon Coach got his early goal and his side’s bravery was rewarded.

The match was not without controversy, as Edin Dzeko had a perfectly legitimate goal ruled out. Yes, this would have sent his side through, but as the adage goes: luck will even itself out, and it will across the season. Rightly or wrongly, Roma should not have to rely on the linesman as a last resort when their talent fails to match the application.

Roma’s breakneck style of play may soon come in to question. Against the lesser sides, it’s relatively risk free, but elsewhere, especially in Europe, the setup has greater consequences and the imbalance between defence and attack is what’s cost the club their participation in the next round. 

The back three has been a success this season, but regular wide-men Bruno Peres and Emerson Palmieri are naturally more attack-minded and struggle with balancing their duties. What Roma need is a cool head to take charge and slow things down. With over an hour remaining, the hosts played as if the match was about to end and allowed Lyon to create multiple openings. Roma’s full speed ahead approach is a sight to behold, but there must be some variation in style.

Ultimately, the Scudetto hopefuls failed to overcome a disastrous first leg and it was too little too late in their quest to make the last eight. While the damage was irreparable, the experience should prove invaluable. Then again, we said that about marking Diakhaby on a set play in the first leg.

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Have your say...
Serie A garbage.
on the 17th March, 2017 at 7:16pm
Come on, guys...... Roma might've played great football and their opponents might've played negative football. But at the end of the day, only winning that counts, beautiful football doesn't. This is football, not gymnastics. Stop finding excuses everytime Roma fail, Spaletti and Nainggolan have been more than enough doing it.
on the 17th March, 2017 at 6:52pm
Always spectacular watching rometta blowing out in important matches. Written in star. xD
on the 17th March, 2017 at 6:41pm
Being a fan of Roma is like being in a relationship with a person who constantly cheats on you. How does this team consistently fold at the European level? There was no reason to allow Lyon to score a late 4th goal in the first leg, it's inexcusable. We all know how difficult it is to overturn a deficit when allowing an opponent to score 4 goals in a single game. Roma's defensive lapses leading to early and late goals is a recipe for disaster, time and time again. It's really a pity
on the 17th March, 2017 at 5:12pm
In my opinion the back three has been a disaster.. Fazio is terrible in his own penalty box and has single handed lost Roma several games recently. Against an organized team they are lacking a lot of creativity and seem reliant on a ball over the top to Salah, hoping Dzeko can bully a defender in the box, or maybe swing in a good cross occasionally. This team does not look threatening with three at the back and created more chances when play with two real wingers, not Radja in attack.
on the 17th March, 2017 at 3:31pm
Im a roma fan, so have seen us go out with a whimper before, but i have to say last night was different roma might have gone out, but atleast with our heads held high having tried everything and coming with in inches of it. btw im glad juve got barca, with suarez and neymars diving they might get a bit of there own medicine
on the 17th March, 2017 at 2:12pm
House party - things have changed - north or south, calcio is screwed. Its
serie -Juve now. The only italian club in top 10 in Europe.
on the 17th March, 2017 at 11:27am
I am sorry that i have to be a bit harsh but Roma didn't deserve to go through by any means sorry but looking back over both legs 180mins and Roma truly played to their potential a total of 45mins. SES and Dzeko cant play together even with Salah SES drifts to the wings and his crosses are abysmal unless he can play in he center or inside the penalty box he is ineffective looking back at the entire team performance Nick made a real good point by saying Roma played almost the entire second leg as if the game was about to end they rushed forward and seemed to panic in the final third but the most worrying thing was that Romas midfield seemed to be missing in the second leg De Rossi, Strootman, Nianggolan all seemed to fade i and out of the game along with their poor defensive showing it was always going to be tough. Lyon did what they had to do to progress even if they used some dirty trickery they did what they had to so blaming them or the Ref for Romas shortcomings makes no sense this As this is football not a beauty pageant and one doesnt win anything just by playing beautifully
on the 17th March, 2017 at 11:07am
You watched the different game obviously, I am not a supporter of Roma, but stop bashing it. Yes they have their problems, but are the most unfriendly atmosphere for coach in Italy. I agree with Spalleti the way the Lyon played was pathetic and cowardly, laying around on every occasion they got.
on the 17th March, 2017 at 9:54am
Nainggolan:

We are still running for Treble!!! Serie A , EL (NOT UCL), COPPA Result - FAILED BIG TIME !!! LOL

JUVE can only scored goals from PK and FREE KICK, and yet Roma get more PK than any other club in Serie A - FAILED AGAIN!
on the 17th March, 2017 at 9:10am
It said "regular wide men Peres and emerson" not that he played tonight.
on the 17th March, 2017 at 8:22am
True that. Roma stopped pushing hard with remaining 30mins of the game. I thought they are waiting for the final push, however in the meantime Lyon created lots of opportunities. Hadn't been Alisson, Roma would've lost. Roma did not push hard. Yes they had a goal disallowed, but that is not an excuse. Roma can do better. The game reminded me Juventus vs Benfica (0-0) couple years ago. Conte was an allenatore back then, and he was not brave/smart enough that time. Same thing happened to Roma.
on the 17th March, 2017 at 4:25am
True that. Roma stopped pushing hard with remaining 30mins of the game. I thought they are waiting for the final push, however in the meantime Lyon created lots of opportunities. Hadn't been Alisson, Roma would've lost. Roma did not push hard. Yes they had a goal disallowed, but that is not an excuse. Roma can do better. The game reminded me Juventus vs Benfica (0-0) couple years ago. Conte was an allenatore back then, and he was not brave/smart enough that time. Same thing happened to Roma.
on the 17th March, 2017 at 4:24am
I was surprised Roma didn't turn it around 1st tho! I knew they'd go out cause it's Roma but I did think they'd make it 3-1 before capitulating again! Bar the odd exception it seems that the only Italian sides to have the mentality to compete in Europe are the teams from the north of the country! Napoli won Uefa n Lazio CWC but generally it's Juve, Milan clubs n Parma that used to well in Europe! Roma last final in 90! On a more positive note it was good to see fans at the Olympico again!
on the 17th March, 2017 at 4:04am
After watching em beat Villareal I really thought that they'd turned a corner n took a step up but they do seem to capitulate 4 no reason! It must be a mentality thing, it's happened time n again against Porto, Lyon, Sampy n now it seems another Roma side with potential will end up having another wasteful season!
They were unlucky to lose over the 2 legs. Maybe it's just their destiny to be mediocre, capitulate, underachieve! That's why Spalletti is so theatrical. He knows it'll all be in vain!
on the 17th March, 2017 at 3:51am
did the writer actually watch the game? "Lyon got rewarded for their bravery"? What are you smoking? I don't see this sort of harsh criticism when Napoli lost to Real Madrid at home 1-3? Not to mention the level of stupidity of the referees were off the chart for this game! That off-side call, seriously, until now I'm still pissed with that.
on the 17th March, 2017 at 2:23am
Also mario rui played left wing back tonight not emerson and emerson isnt that attacking at all he plays quiet balanced and defends very well bruno peres did prove tonight that he is a bit of a headless chicken never picking the right option and over the 2 legs was romas worst player that is for sure
on the 17th March, 2017 at 1:59am
Pretty stupid article did you actually watch the game, roma did everything in there power to get to the next stage tonight and wud off if not for some bad luck and better finishing, thats been the difference over the 2 legs roma were more wastefull, but saying lyon kept attacking is just wrong lyon cudnt get out of there own half for most of the game romas regrets come from game management in the 1st leg not anything from tonight
on the 17th March, 2017 at 1:51am

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