Defense, Lack of January transfers spells the end of Roman trophy quest.
After blowing a 3-0 lead against Atalanta last week, Eusebio Di Francesco’s knew his squad would respond one of two ways during their next match. Unfortunately for coach EDF, the response his team summoned was the opposite of what he had hoped for.
In only their second Coppa Italia game, and after an initial 4-0 win against Serie C opponent Virtus Entella, Roma bowed out of the domestic competition early, far too early for a team with this much talent.
Wednesday’s match was one of the ugliest ninety minutes of the entire season for the Giallorossi and a match that may ultimately have severe consequences for coach and players. Roma’s second knockout stage failure further exposed the greatest weaknesses of the team, weaknesses which have been apparent for some time now, especially those on the defense. The 1-7 result was the product of all-around disgusting team performance. A heavy loss, this was indeed the bitter pill the team finally had to swallow.
The highlights of the game, were, in a nutshell, former transfer target Federico Chiesa scoring a hat trick, including the first two goals of the game. His Fiorentina teammates proceeded to inflict damage at will on an underprepared Roma squad who looked as if they were playing a defense-optional scrimmage. Eden Dzeko, who looked like he finally had gotten the monkey off his back last week after scoring a pair of goals, was thrown out of the game in the 72nd minute after Roma had conceded their fifth goal of the match. Daniele De Rossi finally saw brief action on the pitch after being sidelined with an injury for several months.
There were no positives to take away from tonight’s display. Roma looked like a squad that had been beaten early into the match and had no answer for adversity. As time went on, it became apparent that the team had given up. All credit to Fiorentina who took the bull by the horns and scored an incredible seven goals, an accomplishment worthy of praise against any Serie A opponent.
The squad from Florence will now have a chance to strike a major upset in the next round of the tournament as they will face the winner of today’s later match Atalanta – Juventus.
Now that the realistic and attainable goal of winning Coppa Italia has been extinguished, where does the team go from here? Juventus does not look ready to lose a game and give up its stranglehold on Serie A. AC Milan looks ready to improve their squad and push Roma out of a top-four finish. What goals will the board now decide are reachable? Does the team stay the course and chalk this loss up to an aberration or is this seven-goal loss a season-changing event? Which players if any will be benched or shipped out, and is EDF back on the hot seat?
Hopefully, we’ll have more answers on Thursday when the January transfer window closes, if not by that date then certainly before Sunday’s all-important match for fourth place against Milan.