Il Tempo (Alessandro Austini) While it wasn’t a convincing performance, Roma returned from Verona with a smile on their faces and with second place still in their grasp after securing a victory that could be worth millions of Euros to them. Napoli’s win against Fiorentina later that evening ensured that the Giallorossi’s fight for automatic qualification to the Champions League would go down to the final day against Genoa, 28th May, which will mark the end of Totti’s playing career.
Il Tempo (Erika Menghi) The Egyptian Roma strikes again. Two goals from El Shaarawy and two from Salah in Verona were a signal of the rebirth of the former and the latter’s efficiency.
Corriere dello Sport (Furio Fedele, Alberto Polverosi) Yesterday Spalletti played 4 forwards as well as Nainggolan, who can be considered a trequartista – or at least an attacking midfielder – by now. The 5 Giallorossi players contributed as follows. Edin Dzeko: a double and an assist for El Shaarawy, 5 shots of which 2 were on target (the goals). Mohamed Salah: an assist for Dzeko, winning a penalty and forcing a red card (for Paletta). Diego Perotti: a shot off the post and 4 shots. Stephan El Shaarawy: a goal and 3 shots in half an hour. Radja Nainggolan: a shot off the post and 5 shots. The Belgian was eventually substituted after sustaining muscle fatigue.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (Fabio Bianchi) Things were set in stone. It shouldn’t have been possible for them to change. But now the old cliché of Italian teams setting themselves up primarily not to concede goals has finally been turned on its head. Scoring is, finally, at the forefront of our league’s top sides. It’s the most obvious thing of all to say that to win you have to score goals. To score goals, teams need lots of attackers – and good ones. 20 years ago, the system changed to 3 points for a win, and this helped enormously. But recent seasons have shown a surge of goalscorers, particularly this season. We’re just past the halfway mark of the season, and you can clearly see that this scudetto race will be a race like few others.
Il Tempo (Adriano Serafini) He doesn’t leave for some time yet, but Roma are already starting to feel his absence. Maybe it’s because his hat-trick against Bologna is still fresh in the memory, or maybe it’s just because no one at Trigoria will be smiling when he goes. Either way, the Giallorossi have two things they want to do while Mohamed Salah is away at the African Cup of Nations. Firstly they want (and need) to go back into the transfer market to look for a replacement who can fill the void left by the Egyptian, and secondly Roma will initiate contact with the player’s entourage in the coming months to discuss a new contract extension.
La Stampa (Matteo De Santis) A perfect home record, with 18 points from 6 games at the Olimpico, and the most prolific attack in the league have not only made sure that Roma remain in second place but also stopped Juventus from establishing an even bigger lead. A week after seeing their own Skorupski perform miracles at Empoli, Roma were back with 3 goals against Bologna, all scored by Salah (with the considerable assistance of Masina for the first one). Two points gained on Napoli and Lazio, none lost on Milan or Juventus, and to top it all they are the league’s top scorers with 29 (20 of which have been scored or created by Dzeko and Salah), 2 more than Torino. Spalletti can therefore feel relaxed going into the international break.
Roma closed out the season with a comfortable win away at Milan, and had there been a few games more it’s possible that they would have edged out Napoli in the race for second. In the end it was a creditable third place finish, and the dour play in the latter stages of the Rudi Garcia era has been long forgotten after Luciano Spalletti took over for his second spell in charge of the club. There have been failings at all levels during the course of the season – from owners, directors and players, not to mention Franco Gabrielli and Roma’s relationship with the former prefect of Rome – but the club’s recovery in the second half of the season to secure Champions League football again mean it should be seen as a positive campaign overall. Continue reading