Roma should have been able to celebrate their win against Sassuolo. The second half was evidence of great team spirit and a resourcefulness and a desire to win that Roma often lack in games that aren’t against one of the very top sides. But in the 84th minute, Alessandro Florenzi landed awkwardly, painfully, as he challenged for the ball, and immediately it was apparent that the injury was serious. Roma’s players had their heads in their hands as they saw what had happened. The next morning, Florenzi and Roma’s worst fears were confirmed: he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and would require surgery before spending at least 4 months on the sidelines. The injury was all the more gut-wrenching for Roma as, literally 5 minutes before Florenzi’s injury, Antonio Rudiger completed his comeback from his own cruciate ligament injury by coming on as a substitute for his first appearance of the season. It is the latest in a long line of cruciate ligament injuries that has hit both Roma’s first team and the Primavera side.
Nati il 7 giugno (Il Tempo) There’s a curse – I joked the other day that [expert knee surgeon] Professor Mariani should be appointed Roma’s new sporting director. Actually, it’s misfortune – fed and fomented by the false Roma fans who follow la Maggica – in getting cruciate ligament injuries which we should be put into the Guinness Book of Records for; not even Godfrey of Bouillon got so many injuries in such a short amount of time. Ponce, Nura, Rudiger, Mario Rui, and now Alessandro Florenzi as well, maybe the most painful one of all given that it was seen live on TV, and to watch his team-mates put their heads in their hands was really a blow to the stomach. Come on Alessandro, come back stronger and more combative than you were before.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (Davide Stoppini) Is tonight a game about who to buy back? Lorenzo Pellegrini, Luca Mazzitelli, Federico Ricci? Trigoria has made a second home at Sassuolo, and should any of them come back to Roma one day they’ll be worth their weight in gold. There will be mixed emotions – regrets, choices, necessities – at the Mapei Stadium tonight.
Il Tempo (Alessandro Austini) No, Roma didn’t amaze anyone yesterday evening. They needed to beat Palermo to close in on Juventus and keep pace with Milan in second place, and they did. They needed to know how to maintain their concentration once they were in front, and they did – more or less, with the exception of a few minutes when they were 2-0 up and when they conceded a fortunate goal to the Sicilians 10 minutes from the end. This team, worn out by a busy fixture schedule and ravaged by injuries, needed to be managed carefully: Spalletti succeeded in this, resting Florenzi for 45 minutes and briefly evaluating Strootman’s progress. The real test of their scudetto ambitions will be on Wednesday at home to Sassuolo, but yesterday’s 90 minutes are enough to cancel out the pent-up anger caused by the farcical finish in the Europa League.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (Francesco Oddi) 3 goals in his last 2 games, a brace against Austria Vienna and one slipped between the keeper’s legs in the 4-1 win over Palermo: El Shaarawy is the current poster boy of a Roma team who have got to within 2 points of Juventus. In a week like that, he can allow himself to borrow the dab dance, used by others including Paul Pogba, so that he could celebrate with Paredes, and at the same time preach humility and calm. He has also taken responsibility for things that weren’t his fault, like the lead that was lost in the Europa League which came after he had been substituted. “It was a great victory [against Palermo], because we didn’t make the same mistake we made against Austria Vienna, which was giving stupid balls away to the opposition – we kept the ball and managed the game. We’re happy and we just need to keep being as consistent as we are at the moment.”
Il Tempo (Alessandro Austini) Roma-Austria Vienna: how to ruin everything in 2 minutes and dive back into a familiar tunnel. Roma took 3 steps forward and then as many back, giving away another lead – the 4th already this season – in a game that was virtually over against a modest team like Austria Vienna. In the 82nd minute they were 3-1 up, Spalletti was making substitutions with Palermo in mind (even though he brought on two first teamers in Salah and Dzeko, as well as Palmieri) and then, in the 84th minute, without even realising it, they found themselves level – just as they do in the group, which they lead together with the Austrians.
There was once a brotherhood between Roma and Napoli supporters that was the envy of Italy. It existed as a form of solidarity between the two sets of fans as their respective clubs tried to break the power of the northern clubs, and it gave birth to the Derby del Sole, sometimes known as the Derby del Sud, which hit its heyday during the 1970s and early 1980s. Then, unfortunately, that relationship was fractured and shattered by a series of events, building up to a tragic nadir in 2014. Roma-Napoli now is no longer the true Derby del Sole. For nearly the last 30 years, the fixture has been marred by tensions, clashes and violence on coaches, at train stations, even at police stations, leading up to the death of Ciro Esposito at the hands of Roma ultra Daniele De Santis two years ago. Just this summer, a 20 year old Roman was stabbed and hospitalised in Naples for having a Roma tattoo on his arm on display in the city centre. A deep and mutual mistrust has spread throughout both sets of fans, leading to these violent clashes, and now the game is one of Italy’s most high risk games with away fans often banned from attending. How did it come to this?