A little luck, set pieces and a little cool as Lopez’s ice saves gave Roma a win and two crucial away goals ahead of next week’s second leg
Roma had the honor of being the last remaining Italian team in European competition today when they set foot on the cavernous Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam for the first leg of their quarter-final League match against Ajax, who currently lead the Dutch League by a healthy 11-point margin
Speaking of health, Roma weren’t healthy when they entered this game and their injury issues got even worse – more on that in a moment The Giallorossi came out shooting at all the cylinders in the opening moments of this match, stringing together a great chance in just the third minute when Edin Dzeko played a ball to Lorenzo Pellegrini, but the Roma captain was unable to convert the luck Nonetheless, it was a signal of intent from a club that has struggled in the course of the game recently.
Ajax would make their own first steps, winning two corners in the opening 10 minutes of the game, while forcing Pau Lopez to make an early save and bringing Jordan Veretout into the mix, who threw his body in front of a shot in the ninth minute
It was a pretty standard rate for the 10-15 minute opening, just two clubs delicately trying to get their bearings, hoping to find some inefficiency to exploit later in the game Dzeko, who was a somewhat surprised starter given Borja Mayoral’s record in this competition, made his presence felt during this phase of the match, pulling a low effort and skimming off the left post and then, moments later, slipping. in front of the defense to run on a looped header at the right post to be ousted by the Ajax defense
Roma’s best chance of the first half came in the 17th minute when Roma forced a rather difficult clearance from the Ajax defense As the ball headed towards Bryan Cristante, Roma number four threw a shot from 25 yards, forcing Ajax goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen to an extended stop – and I mean stretched; it was completely parallel to the ground
Okay, back to the injuries In the 23rd minute, with Leonardo Spinazzola dribbling down the left flank, Edin Dzeko slipped into the center channel, giving Spinazzola a day-clear goal to feed the Bosnian in a one-on-one with Scherpen but Spinazzola hesitated and the luck was wasted
As the game progressed, it was hard to tell why Spinazzola was hesitating, but it soon became clear when Spinazzola found himself lame seconds later, clutching his hamstrings. After receiving treatment on the sideline for a few minutes, Spinazzola tried the old college but just couldn’t continue and was replaced by Riccardo Calafiori in the 29th minute.
The next 10 minutes were fairly consistent, but let’s get to the real point of interest of the first half
G⚽L DE AJAX‼ ️ Klaassen ⏱️39 ‘Ajax 1️⃣ 0️⃣ Roma #UEL SUBSCRIBE TELEGRAM ✅ Y mira todos los goles cuando quieras ▶ ️ https: // tco / 0TV9WEoDZBpicTwittercom / 5tOcoVwckV
If you’re having trouble dissecting a play and / or assigning the blame, look away as this streak was a nightmare As Roma struggle to cope with Ajax’s slow attack, everything somehow struggling to escape their counterpressure, Amadou Diawara made what appeared to be a fairly standard / benign back pass to Gianluca Mancini Only in this case the ball drifted, giving Klaassen a clear look at the goal
If you’re on Diawara’s side, you’re probably thinking Mancini didn’t do enough to attack the stray ball, giving Klaassen a real free pass towards the goal If, however, you are part of the Mancini team, you blame and Diawara’s feet for drying him off with such a listless pass in the first place; he either needed to hit him harder towards Mancini or not hit him at all And if Mancini rushed to the free ball he could have given Klaassen the opportunity to dribble past him
But, like most things, the blame was shared everywhere What made it a particularly bitter pill to swallow was the simple fact that we’ve seen this exact scenario multiple times this season.
Things would turn around for Roma in the second half, even if they didn’t feel like it at the time
Things didn’t start well for Roma in the second half In the 53rd minute, as Ajax looked to build up their lead and put that quarter-final to bed before heading to Italy, disaster struck Roma As Tadic charged towards the penalty area, Roger Ibañez defeated leaders Ajax, giving the home side a potentially devastating penalty
As Tadic approached, Lopez looked strangely stoic as the Serbian playmaker tried to shake Lopez off his moorings.We can only speculate of course, but it seemed like Tadic wanted Lopez to dive to his left (to Tadic’s right), after which he would have shot the ball in the middle of the net But Lopez didn’t buy him and didn’t budge from his place and Tadic, with his plan foiled, shot the chest from the right ball to Lopez, giving the Spaniard an easy but crucial save.
G⚽L DE ROMA‼ ️ Pellegrini ⏱️57 ‘Ajax 1️⃣ 1️⃣ Roma #UEL SUSCRIBITE TO TELEGRAM ✅ Y mira todos los goles cuando quieras ▶ ️ https: // tco / 0TV9WEoDZBpicTwittercom / 3O3zbmPw3o
Luck plays by itself in almost every game, and Roma certainly had fate on their side here While Pellegrini’s plan was perfect, his execution was not. Although it was wise to choose the far post, his shot lacked both speed and deflection to beat Scherpen, and indeed you’ll notice how far to his left he shadowed, practically choosing Pellegrini’s spot But in an odd twist, the lack of speed worked in Roma’s favor as Scherpen was forced to make a stop as his momentum carried him in the opposite direction. And, while he technically did the backup, he just let it go
Lopez would continue his personal highlight as the game neared the 70-minute mark, denying Nicolas Tagliafico and Brian Brobbey in quick succession Pau would be called to action again in the 73rd minute when Ibañez’s poor clearance gave up an attempt by Antony, which Lopez parried cool as desired
Fonseca would respond with a series of changes, bringing Borja Mayoral for Dzeko and Gonzalo Villar for Veretout, who appeared to be limping off the pitch
With the game tied to one, and with Roma grabbing the precious away goal, Ajax responded by increasing the pressure in Roma’s final, constantly recycling possession around the 18-yard box. , winning corners and keeping Lopez on edge
As they weathered the late storm, the Roma were unable to mount their own counterattack, but found salvation via the set piece shortly before the whistle sounded final
Golazo! Ibáñez, una revancha personal y un zurdazo lleno de furia Roma revivió en Ámsterdam y le gana 2-1 al Ajax Daje! imageTwittercom / n1PtAjPZmI
I’m not even going to describe this one Sit back and enjoy the show, assuming it hasn’t been wiped out by Serie A yet Super corner, super setting, super finish
The referee would tack on another four minutes, but Roma did enough to neutralize Ajax in the home stretch, knocking out the winners with two away goals worth their weight in gold
It was a strange game in many ways Although it seemed relatively uniform, the stats painted an entirely different story With almost two-thirds of possession and twice as many shots as Roma, Ajax were definitely in control tonight, but thanks to the magic of the kick from Pellegrini, to the mastery of the penalty area by Lopez, and yes, luckily, Roma won on the day And while the return leg will not be a cakewalk, those two away goals will give the Giallorossi enormous leeway
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World News – CA – Pellegrini, Ibañez and Lopez the heroes in Roma 2-1 win over Ajax