It goes from bad to worse for Luis Enrique, as Roma were beaten on home turf by Cagliari with Jose Angel harshly sent off.
It has been a fiery summer for the Giallorossi, with new American owners, a host of squad changes and Coach Luis Enrique under fire from fans for dropping Francesco Totti in the Europa League. Cagliari had their own drama with Roberto Donadoni sacked a month ago and Massimo Ficcadenti drafted in at short notice.
Juan, Erik Lamela, Simon Kjaer, David Pizarro and Cicinho were ruled out, while the visitors missed Eriksson and the suspended Joaquin Larrivey. Roma threw Bojan Krkic, Pablo Osvaldo and Totti into the starting XI with several other new signings. Cagliari looked to Brazilian arrival Thiago Ribeiro.
Totti had an early shot charged down, while Michele Agazzi beat away Spanish full-back Jose Angel's snapshot and an Osvaldo header from Totti's cross.
As seen so many times in pre-season, Roma dominated in midfield with sterile possession that rarely created scoring opportunities. Jose Angel was forced to intercept the Andrea Cossu pull-back for an unmarked Thiago Ribeiro.
Pjanic's fierce strike was beaten away and Osvaldo fired the rebound straight at the goalkeeper, but his blushes were spared by the offside flag saved his blushes. Agazzi beat away another Osvaldo effort, as long-range strikes became their main weapon.
Maarten Stekelenburg also had to work by parrying a Cossu strike. From the resulting corner, Davide Biondini's looping cross-shot sailed over the Dutchman to thump the crossbar.
Osvaldo just failed to get on the end of an Aleandro Rosi ball across the face of goal, while Cossu's screamer skimmed the near post with the aid of a deflection off Gabriel Heinze.
Luis Enrique threw on Marco Borriello for Bojan, as the Giallorossi continued to struggle. The substitute had a great opportunity when Totti whipped a cross to the back post for Borriello's acrobatic volley, but Agazzi performed a desperate save from point-blank range.
However, it was Cagliari who broke through at the Olimpico! It was a howler from Jose Angel, who nodded a cross straight at Daniele Conti and the midfielder - the son of Roma legend Bruno - did not hesitate to take advantage with an angled drive.
It got even worse moments later, as Roma went down to 10 men for Jose Angel's foolish kick out at the back of Biondini when he had lost the ball. It seemed very harsh to show the straight red card, as the Spaniard was trying to get back the ball and swung out a foot as he fell. It was a nightmare 120 seconds for Jose Angel on his Serie A debut, which is a shame as he had been perhaps Roma's best player up to that point.
Borriello nodded down a Totti pass for Osvaldo, but his shot was charged down in the penalty area. Luis Enrique introduced Fernando Gago for Rosi, effectively leaving Roma with no width at all.
Totti tried to get the game back on track with a fierce free kick, but Agazzi beat it away with some difficulty.
Fabio Borini came off the bench and had the ball in the back of the net within five seconds, but play had already been stopped for Heinze's offside position. Former Chelsea and Swindon Town striker Borini had been at full stretch to turn in the knockdown.
Cagliari nearly made it 2-0, but a Cossu dipping strike from distance skimmed the crossbar with Stekelenburg flapping.
The Sardinians did finish off the game in stoppages, as substitute El Kabir netted on his Serie A debut. It was a classic counter and El Kabir had all the space in the world to place an angled drive past Stekelenburg down the right flank.
Daniele De Rossi got one back with the last kick of the game, as Totti's free kick was parried into his path, but it was scant consolation for a disastrous debut.
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