Thursday February 22 2018
Roma live down to expectations

It was a painfully familiar tale in Ukraine, as Roma lost control at the first sign of trouble, but Emmet Gates sees hope thanks to Alisson.

Given their performances this season in the Champions League, many believed the days of Roma capitulating with alarming ease in Europe was a thing of the past. Hazy memories of embarrassing score lines and broken players; a club that became the laughing stock around Italy, those embarrassments were thought to be associated with the Luciano Spalletti and Rudi Garcia eras at the club.

Well, the old Roma reappeared once again at the Metalist Stadium. Just to remind us that the mental fragilities that lie just beneath the surface are never truly banished.

And again, give their history of capitulations, this one is at least reversible. Thanks only to the heroics of Alisson, Eusebio Di Francesco’s men are in with a fighting chance of making it through to the quarter-final. Because after a decent first 45 minutes in Ukraine, Roma did indeed do a ‘Roma’.

The Brazilian stopper was simply magnificent, denying Marlos, Taison and Facundo Ferreyra from making it another night in toe with Manchester in 2007 or Barcelona in 2015.

There was a kind of inevitability about the manner in which Roma lost control of the game once Ferreyra punished slack Giallorossi defending in the 51st minute. You expected the home side to push on and gain the upper hand, and Roma would succumb to the pressure. And Roma indeed followed the script, as par for the course on European nights.

Yet it all started so brightly, Roma were composed throughout the first half and had several chances. Edin Dzeko spurned a glorious opportunity in the 20th minute, like so many he has wasted recently in Serie A. Cengiz Under, who has almost single-handedly prevented Roma from going the way of Inter since December, banked more credit to his ever-growing stature with his first Champions League goal, on his debut in this tournament.

Speaking after the game, Di Francesco was heavily critical of his side for the way they reacted after Ferreyra’s goal. Roma attempted to restrict further damage rather than going on the offensive at 1-1, but this only led to increasing Shakhtar pressure. The second goal, when it did arrive via the sumptuous left foot of Fred, was hardly surprising. For once, there was nothing Alisson could do about it.

Roma have it within them to turn the tie around on March 13. They collected seven points in the group stage at home and haven’t lost a European tie under the lights at the Olimpico in over a year.

A single goal is all that’s needed to advance, yet given their problems in trying to control matches and their willingness to psychologically collapse at the first sniff of trouble, you wouldn’t bet against the Ukrainians scoring again. The Giallorossi will need more than just Alisson to see them progress to the quarter-final for the first time in a decade.

Thanks to the brilliant Brazilian, however, it is still possible.

Have your say...

Big loss!

In the open fields of the EPL the attacking winger is having a feast of great goals!
on the 25th February, 2018 at 8:28am
Hate to say this about you EPL and Spanish cheerleaders and a few other clubs. The real truth to football comes with a salary cap. Clubs that spend in excess of 800 million euros
vs 300 million euros. Not fair Sorry Same old b.s.
on the 24th February, 2018 at 7:43pm
And little Theo*, we have a team with history, achievements and a name that the whole EPL thing, combined, can only dream of, just google AC Milan (recommend 16GB of RAM), and then Premiere League(you'll have to scroll down a few pages), I know.. depression hurts.
on the 24th February, 2018 at 9:05am
Roma have the worst mentality of any European team EVER, them representing Italy is always bad news, I'm not gonna waste any more space on them. As for the haters and talkers, I think everybody is tired of your rhetoric of how bad Serie A is, and, Oh how everybody else is flourishing. Name 2 good teams in Germany, or 1 in England, did u forget Roma-Chelsea? Or little Atalanta vs big-spending Everton? More? Barca/ManCity, Arsenal/Bayern? anything exciting in France? Read on losers..
on the 24th February, 2018 at 8:47am
On the POGBA front could well come into play eventual career decisions from both Alex Sandro and Dybala.

With the added confirmed, and concrete, interest by Juventus in defender DARMIAN.

Don't exclude other possible surprises.

You never know with Mister Marotta and Mourinho, as there could be other players involved.

Thinking about it both Clubs could do each other a favour or two..............
on the 24th February, 2018 at 2:26am

There is a glimmer of a chance to sign Pogba?
JUVE, bring him back!

Talk is cheap and very vague, Pogba's performances in bianconero are well worth a recall to our Club!

Work on Allianz Insurance and Jeep, or Alfa Romeo, other sponsors, to sweeten his contract and we have fireworks at the ready!

Clause is very kind to JUVE!
on the 24th February, 2018 at 12:42am
@ Carpe Diem

Pogba is a disgrace and doesn't deserve 2nd chance with Juventus. He can go to hell with Red Devils.
on the 23rd February, 2018 at 9:51pm

No, thanks.

Juve treated him well. Believed in him and relaunched his career. Gave him #10.

Yet he was disrespectful in his comments towards Juve. He doesn't deserve to wear the jersey again.
on the 23rd February, 2018 at 1:29pm
This is just Roma, honestly. What else is new?
People are treating this like a disaster or an unusual sight. Let alone that it was against a very good club.

Atalanta did more than great. They would have progressed if not for a single silly GK mistake. Against the 2nd best German club in history.

Italian football is this, Italian football is that.
What about the German clubs. Where are they?
Germany is the world champion, they have the best attendance, the best infrastructure. But where are their clubs in Europe finals other than Bayern?

Yes, Italy is in trouble but not like some drama queens are making it out to be.
on the 23rd February, 2018 at 1:24pm
On the POGBA news my opinion is that I'd have him back at Juventus in a flash.
He did very well indeed for us and we could find sponsorship to give him a better contract.
on the 23rd February, 2018 at 11:51am
theo the greek expert!!!!
on the 22nd February, 2018 at 11:42pm
Poor Theo. Must be awful to be such a miserable person.
on the 22nd February, 2018 at 9:03pm
Well if serie a doesn´t deserve 4 spots, how few spots do the PL deserve?
Fifa rankings based on each representative´s performances show that Italian clubs have been far more successful in the European cups than the highly overrated PL teams.
on the 22nd February, 2018 at 8:46pm
The corpse known as blah blah blah jeez shut up man i think everyone stops reading your comments as soon as they even see your name. Its always tje corpse this and the corpse that. Go watch epl then!!
on the 22nd February, 2018 at 7:42pm
The corpse of the dead league known as serie a rots a little more. This is the league that deserves 4 champions league spots? Corruption and empty stadiums are mere appetizers to the humiliation that it is watching Italy scam its way into getting undeserved goodies like expensive TV deals and 4CL spots.

Every Italian team deserves a * next to their name like in America to denote a tainted achievement.
on the 22nd February, 2018 at 6:25pm
Shaktar are a UCL-level team who consistently make the knockout stages; Roma are not. I said it was 50/50 and if Roma didn't play at 100% they'd be punished.
Fortunately, Roma is still in the tie and with a good performance can advance to the last 8.
When was the last time Roma had a shot at the last 8?
They've already over-achieved by winning their group.
on the 22nd February, 2018 at 4:33pm
Magical free kick. Not even Allison could get near that stunner.
on the 22nd February, 2018 at 4:27pm
roma made too many mistakes the ferreyra barely touched the ball before his equalizing goal in front on goal as well dzeko shinned it straight to the keeper manolas header was wayward fazio took too long on the rebound. The game plan was clearly wrong as well radja strootman de rossi barely featured apart from defensive phases on the wings they were utterly exposed. Give shakhtar credit for ability on the ball fred was brilliant taison bernard and marlos were unstoppable.
on the 22nd February, 2018 at 4:21pm
The problem, as ever, is complacency & short-term thinking. Now that Serie A is guaranteed 4 CL places for the next few years, teams have less short-term pressure to contribute to the league's co-efficient score. So whilst in previous years teams might have at least *tried* to do well in Europe, for the sake of ensuring Serie A isn't reduced to just 2 CL places, now all that matters is securing a top 4 finish. Progress in Europe is thus, for the time being, a distraction for that goal.
on the 22nd February, 2018 at 4:09pm
It is not a "Roma" thing anymore unfortunately, it's an ITALIAN thing now! Six teams played in Europe and ONLY Milan won and the ONLY other team that put up a good performance was Atalanta....Napoli are out for sure, while Lazio, Juve & Roma need huge performances especially Juve who are playing away from home in the 2nd leg. We could be seeing ONLY one Italian team in the QF in Europe this season.....
on the 22nd February, 2018 at 2:03pm
Serie As best teams can't beat teams from Ukraine... how are they supposed to be even considered competitive against the top teams? Juve and Roma will be out of this competition next leg... Roma looked pedestrian in the 2nd half.. pitiful performance...even the Turk vanished into thin air and faded so badly...

This league is in desperate need of a complete overhaul... from top to bottom.
on the 22nd February, 2018 at 11:50am

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