By Scot Munroe
AS Roma: Just two week into the new 2015-16 Serie A season and the atmosphere around the club and the city of Rome has been lifted after Sunday evening excellent 2-1 home win over fellow Scudetto challengers Juventus, who now sit joint bottom of the table with 0 points.
Roma were a different side after the draw away at Hellas Verona the week before, as the players and coach found it hard to break down Verona defensive set up. The Pitch wasn’t up to scratch and Roma couldn’t produce anything that they wanted to do with their slick passing counter attack game. What we got was a slow tempo play which lacked any ideas and creativity and coach Rudi Garcia got flack for it and deservedly so. Senior player Daniele De Rossi even showed his dismay and anger as he was substituted for Seydou Keita. Alessandro Florenzi who had a poor game as the home side pointed him and fellow full back Vasilis Torosidis as weak links, pulled something out of the bag with a long range distance effort which saved Roma from an embarrassing opening day defeat.
Then just over a week later Roma took on Juventus in a massive game just two week into the new season. As the sun was shining in the Italian capital Roma were taking the game to Juventus and making them look a shadow of the side that won the league title just months before. It looked like the old Roma was back, the team had their swagger and it looked more of a balanced side. French Left back Lucas Digne made his debut after his loan move from French Champions PSG, Seydou Keita was brought in for Leandro Castan which meant Daniele De Rossi was moved to the heart of defence. Final change was Iago Falque made his home debut replacing Gervinho.
What happened in the next 90 minutes was lovely to watch, Roma took the game to Juventus from start to finish and looked completely different from the week before. The fast tempo game from two season ago was back. Roma attacked with pace especially with the diagonal runs from Mo Salah who looked so much better after his debut against Hellas Verona and thoroughly deserved his standing ovation when substituted for Juan Iture halfway through the second half.
The two Bosnian internationals were the game winners for Roma, Miralem Pjanic opened the scoring with a fantastic free kick and Eden Dzeko added a second late into the game with a brilliant towering header past Gianluigi Buffon. Then Dzeko celebrated right under the Curva Sud, Juventus were then reduced to ten men as Patrice Evra was sent off for picking up two silly yellow cards. Juventus then came into the game in the last ten minutes and gave Roma a panicky last few minutes with a late goal from Paulo Dybala. Stoppage time was just a couple of minutes in as on loan Arsenal Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczensy pulled off a brilliant one handed save to deny Leonardo Bonucci.
This was a massive win and with the international break now in the horizon, we won’t be seeing Roma in action for two weeks and we will have to wait and see what this win can do for the confidence of the players and can they think that a title push really could be on.