Roma and Sassuolo Play Out Feisty Goalless Stalemate

Sunday afternoon saw the return to domestic duty for Roma and Sassuolo who played out a cautious and sometimes testy goalless stalemate at the Stadio Olimpico.

Roma Coach Paulo Fonseca made wholesale changes from the Europa League victory on Thursday night against Young Boys. Only defenders Bryan Cristante, Pablo Ibanez, midfielder Gonzalo Villar and attacker Pedro retained their spots. Captain Edin Dzeko returned alongside influential Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan in attack as the Giallorossi sort to make ground on leaders Milan.

The visitors Sassuolo were without star striker Ciccio Caputo with Filip Đuričić chosen to lead the line. Gian Marco Ferrari and Rogerio were kept in defence with coach RobertoDe Zerbi bringing in Marlon and Kaan Ayhan respectively. Pedro Obiang partnered Manuel Locatelli in the heart of midfield.

The first half ended in stalemate with the biggest talking point being the dismissal of Roma’s Pedro. The striker who had been in excellent form for Roma since his move from Chelsea in the summer saw his afternoon go from bad to worse as he picked up two yellow cards for two bad fouls.

Roma entered the game looking to sit deep and counter on their opponents. This approached nearly worked for the home side when Mkhitaryan swept home only to see his effort chalked off due to a foul in the build-up.

Fantastic work by Dzeko had released midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini, who instead of shooting tried to tee up the striker, who was forced to commit a foul to get to the ball. Tensions were bubbling over as the disallowed goal and red saw Roma manager Fonseca after heated debate be shown a red card. He had to take his place in the stands for the second half.

Although being down to 10 men Roma diverted from the initial defensive game plan to commit men forward when the opportunity presented itself and they tested the Sassuolo keeper on a number of occasions through Dzeko, Mkhitaryan and the impressive Spinazzola.

Sassuolo thought they had opened the scoring in the 75th minute through a wonderful curling effort through Haraslin from the left hand side of the penalty box only to see the effort ruled out for offside in the build-up.

Mkhitaryan continued to pose a threat to the Sassuolo defense with his direct running and nearly scored after the offside goal bursting into the box past two defenders only to drag his left foot shot wide.

Roma’s stout defensive shape remained impregnable with summer signing Marash Kumbulla excelling once again. De Zerbi sent on striker Giacomo Raspadori to try and find a winner and although the young man was lively the Neroverdi could still not find a way through.

Next up Roma face a trip to Bulgaria to take on CSKA Sofia. Having already qualified top of their group, the Romans are likely to rotate their side again before the weekend’s encounter away at Bologna.

Sassuolo, on the other hand, will host Benevento at the Mapei Stadium on Friday night as they look to return to winning ways.  



December 6, 2020 – Serie A 2020-21 Round 10

ROMA (3-4-2-1): Mirante; Ibanez, Cristante, Kumbulla (88′ Juan Jesus); Karsdorp, Pellegrini (83′ Diawara), Villar, Spinazzola; Pedro, Mkhitaryan; Dzeko (85′ Borja Mayoral) (Pau Lopez, Farelli, Bruno Peres, Calafiori, Fazio, Darboe, Milanese, Carles Perez) Coach: Fonseca
SASSUOLO (4-2-3-1): Pegolo; Ayhan, Marlon, Ferrari, Rogerio (82′ Kyriakopoulos); Obiang (85′ Bourabia), Locatelli; Berardi, M. Lopez (46′ Raspadori), Boga (73′ Haraslin); Djuricic (73′ Traore) (Turati, Magnanelli, Peluso, Muldur, Toljan, Oddei, Schiappacasse) Coach: De Zerbi
REFEREE: Mr. Maresca from Naples
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Villar, Mirante, Karsdorp (R), M. Lopez, Raspadori, Obiang (S); Red Cards: Pedro, Fonseca (R); Extra Time: First Half 3′, Second Half 4′