Thursday November 7 2019
EL: Roma gutted in Gladbach

Federico Fazio scored both an own goal and the equaliser, but Marcus Thuram’s stoppage-time header gave Borussia Monchengladbach a 2-1 win over Roma.

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The Giallorossi were still smarting after the hugely controversial 1-1 draw at the Olimpico, where the Germans were awarded a penalty in stoppages for non-existent Chris Smalling handball.

Davide Spinazzola, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Davide Zappacosta, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Bryan Cristante and Nikola Kalinic were out injured, with Mert Cetin not on the UEFA squad list. The hosts missed Breel Embolo, Raffael, Keanan Bennetts, Tobias Sippel, Torben Musel and Fabian Johnson, with Alassane Plea not fully fit either, so Thuram was re-routed to centre-forward.

Italian teams were unbeaten in Gladbach since October 1975, managing four draws and a 1-0 Fiorentina victory in 2016.

Nicolò Zaniolo’s header from a corner skimmed the crossbar in what was almost an exact repeat of the goal he scored against Gladbach in Rome.

Denis Zakaria’s scorcher from distance landed on the roof of the net, while Pau Lopez flew to pluck a Laszlo Benes half-volley out of the air.

Tony Jantschke pulled up with an apparent hamstring strain, so Zakaria moved into central defence for the Bundesliga leaders.

Javier Pastore is rediscovering his confidence and went on a remarkable slalom through a crowd of defenders, testing Yann Sommer at the near post, but Federico Fazio had to throw himself in the way to deflect the Florian Neuhaus shot over the bar.

The deadlock was broken by a bizarre own goal, as Marcus Thuram rolled a ball across from the left and there were no Gladbach players anywhere near reaching it, but Federico Fazio panicked and prodded past Pau Lopez from six yards.

The lack of VAR was decisive in their last game and it proved to be crucial again here, because replays show the ball went out of play in the build-up, so this goal should’ve been disallowed.

Zakaria was a makeshift defender, but made a key sliding tackle on another dangerous Pastore run.

After the restart, Pastore’s swerving strike at the end of a good passing move was acrobatically fingertipped over the bar, while Zaniolo and Kluivert saw their efforts pinball around the penalty area.

The pressure eventually paid off and it was rather fitting that the Fazio own goal should be cancelled out by Fazio. The defender got it in the right net this time, at full stretch after shaking off his marker to volley the Kolarov free kick into the roof of the net from close range.

Roma had the momentum now and had two massive opportunities to go 2-1 up moments later, but Kluivert slipped on the first one, then blasted over on a wonderful Dzeko assist.

Pastore’s first touch let him down on a Jordan Veretout through ball that would’ve sent him clear on goal. It was frantic in the final stages, with end to end moves and last-ditch interceptions.

Just as at the Olimpico, Roma were stunned by a Gladbach goal with almost the last kick of the game. A hopeful cross was whipped in, Alassane Plea knocked it down and Marcus Thuram had far too much room to turn in from eight yards.

Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 Roma

Fazio og 35 (B), Fazio 64 (R), Thuram 95 (B)

Borussia Monchengladbach: Sommer; Jantschke (Hofmann 29), Ginter, Elvedi; Lainer, Benes, Zakaria, Wendt (Bensebaini 85); Neuhaus (Plea 73); Stindl, Thuram

Roma: Pau Lopez; Santon, Smalling, Fazio, Kolarov; Veretout, Mancini (Diawara 59); Zaniolo (Under 76), Pastore (Perotti 80), Kluivert; Dzeko

Ref: Jesus Gil Manzano (ESP)

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