The road to Tipperrary is long, the Scudetto is a distant but visible speck. The approach march starts with a auspicious success of measurement at the home of the tough Salernitana. Cristante’s goal decides, scored at the end of the first half. Roma take no risks and on the contrary repeatedly approaches the doubling that is missing by a matter of millimeters (Dybala’s pole). Zaniolo in great shape, Dybala in flashes, Abraham nervous and a little saddened up front. Mission accomplished. The long-distance derby with Lazio sees the two teams shooting paired. It will be a good fight, on the pitch, in the newspapers, on the citi and on TV. Mourinho and Sarri will not tell each other. In truth, they have already started the duel …
Salernitana generous but checked. THE new signings (Vilenha, Bohinen, Candreva) so-so. Nicola will have to work on it.
On the eve of the match Mourinho had started the summer campaign by teasing his city rival, Maurizio Sarri. “The favorite for the Scudetto is you”. “No, it’s you”, the reply from the Lazio technician. Smoke games, it Special One he is the renowned inventor. Mou prefers to run indoors and therefore remarked that on balance his Rome spent just 7 million euros (Dybala and Matic landed on the Tiber unattached) while Lazio paid out 29. Skirmishes, fumes, mutual disturbance actions. Spoken football that often does not rhyme with football played.
The reality is that Rome shows up at the starting line with the stigmata of the predestined. He saved his collector’s piece, Zaniolo, enlisted there Joya ex Juventus, hungry for redemption. You have caught an old marpione like Maric and an experienced patron of the European pelouse like the Dutch Wjinaldum. What else do you need to think about the big target?
Even the Salernitana, who escaped in the great spring sabbath to the flames of the cadet hell, in her own small way has built a competitive team. Ambitious youngsters, Botheim and Bohinen (the latter out due to injury), the newfound Bonazzoli, seasonal striker last year with 9 league goals, the highly rated Vilenha and the new signing Candreva who had lived a great season in Ranieri’s Sampdoria but with Giampaolo he has never tied.
Arechi full of thirty thousand beating souls, two thousand have come down from Rome. Atmosphere not at all Ferragostana. On the pitch, the pace is anything but high but of course, it is played in the humid heat of an endless summer. Rome with the masked trident that is actually a sghimbescia fork: Dybala and Zaniolo on the launching pad, wide, behind the central point, Abraham. Surprisingly Mou leaves out the Matic breakwater in favor of Cristante and prefers Spinazzola to Zalewski. Nicola chooses the attacking couple Bohinen-Bonazzoli, and in defense he focuses on Bronn, preferred to Pirola to make up the department with the former Giallorossi Fazio and Gyomber.
Ready go. Zaniolo is the first to light up. Two balls worked on par, the first sent to the side the second shot on Sepe who arranges himself as he can to the rejected with the shoulder. Flashes of Salernitana that closes well and starts again. Kastonos and then Bonazzoli show up near Rui Patricio, without causing him any headaches. Dybala? He emerges in the 23rd minute with a lifted free kick that sends the ball high over the crossbar. The best thing about the first part of the race is the Abraham-Dybala-Zaniolo combination, the left-handed player misses Sepe’s goal. The advanced triad of Mourinho already works quite well, the three look for each other and are found with good fluidity. The most on the ball seems to be Zaniolo who coach Mancini had encouraged (“the years go by …”) and he seems convinced he has the right chance with the Giallorossi shirt.
The supremacy of Rome is not overwhelming but clear. And it bears fruit at 33 ‘. Abraham shooting, Sepe rejects central, Cristante is in the right place and from 20 meters shoots a bolide that makes the Campanian goalkeeper dry. Rome ahead 1-0 and it is not a blasphemy. On the contrary…
Salernitana reacts to Cristante’s slap and raises the pace of the maneuver and the pressure on the opponents, but some of Nicola’s boys exaggerate and go over the top. Within two minutes the referee Sozza shows the yellow card to Gyomber and Kastanos who had unscrupulously rounded Abraham and Zaniolo. Rome in control of the match without suffering major worries, the difference in football technique is all noticeable, after all the two teams will play the same group but two different championships. Mou’s team doesn’t make the mistake of waiting for the opponent, they keep playing their game as if the score is still 0-0. A sign of maturity and awareness of one’s own means and ambitions. Almost at half-time, another chance for the Giallorossi Lupa. Zaniolo’s frenzied escape on the counterattack ball and chain and assist in the kiss for Dybala, Paulo alone in front of the Salernitana goalkeeper kicks and catches the post. Ball-goal wasted. It closes with a flash of Candreva who goes around Spinazzola and kicks around getting only a corner kick. At rest, Roma took the lead thanks to Cristante’s goal and the partial score was also tight.
Recovery. Salernitana raises the pace and Roma fades the field and retreats. Bickering Pellegrini-Abraham after an opposing action, a sign that the team is not entirely calm. Mourinho gets up from the bench and calms his team down. 8 ‘clash in the area between Karsdorp and Mazzocchi (fierce duelists along the out) Nicola’s winger claims the penalty kick, Sozza shakes out, for him everything is regular and I would say that the referee was right. The opportunity for doubling happens to Dybala, served in the area by a filter from Spinazzola, the diagonal cross of Joya is lost just wide. Meanwhile in Salernitana Ribery and Valencia have taken over from Kastanos and Botheim respectively. Nicola tries to increase the front wheel drive of his team. Then in also Samba for Mazzocchi. Rome again with Dybala and Zaniolo showing up near Sepe, and the first substitution for Mourinho, Abraham comes out, a bit blurry, for Matic. The Portuguese coach covers himself by thickening the midfield. Roma go to a 3-5-2 facsimile, with Zaniolo and Dybala advanced and a five-man midfield. Matic immediately gets the yellow, fool. Then Kristoffersen takes over from Lassana Coulibaly in Salernitana who sketches the latest assault in search of an equal. At half an hour past 4 minutes Zaniolo gives way to Wjinaldum and at that point it is clear that Mou wants to keep the slightest advantage leaving only Dybala in advance and thickening the midfield that could not be more. Flashes of Salernitana (Bonazzoli, high) but nothing that suggests a comeback. Behind Rome holds up well and closing the spaces suffocates the ambitions of Nicola’s boys, generous but blunt. To the stars the attempt of Vilenha, golden left-handed but rather slow cruising speed.
Fatigue emerges in the Arechi cauldron and of course it is Rome, which defends itself, to take advantage of it. You want to say that August football is back to normal. It is not true and we know why we are forced to face this ordeal. Also out Dybala, exhausted, for El Shaarawi. The four minutes of recovery have no effect e Roma returns home with the three points, a good viaticum for future battles.
Scorer: 34 ‘Cristante
SALERNITANA (3-5-2): Sepe; Bronn, Gyomber, Fazio; Candreva, Kastanos (9 ‘st Ribery), Coulibaly (28’ st Kristoffersen), Vilhena, Mazzocchi (17 ‘st Sambia); Bonazzoli, Botheim (17 ‘st Valencia). Available: Micai, Sorrentino, Bradaric, Veseli, Radovanovic, Iervolino, Kechrida, Capezzi, Pirola. Coach: Nicola.
ROME (3-4-2-1): Rui Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Cristante, Pellegrini, Spinazzola; Dybala (44 ′ st El Shaarawy), Zaniolo (34 ′ st Wijnaldum); Abraham (23 ′ st Matic). Available: Svilar, Boer, Shomurodov, Vina, Celik, Kumbulla, Zalewski, Bove, Felix, Tripi. Coach: Mourinho.
Referee: Sozza di Seregno
Bookings: 28 ‘Coulibaly (S), 39’ Gyomber (S), 40 ‘Kastanos (S), 3’ st Smalling (R), 28 ‘st Matic (R)