Lighting strikes twice as Teenager Felix Afena comes off the bench to win it in the rain for Roma #1327

A.S Roma 2 Genoa 0FT

Coming off of international break, Roma looked to get their season back on the right track following a bit of a skid over the last couple of games. Roma would head out on the road arriving at the Luigi Ferraris to take the field in front of one of the most passionate fan bases in Italy as the Romans prepared to battle Genoa. To add even more intrigued it was Jose Mourinho against Andriy Shevchenko, who was recently appointed as the manager of Genoa after five years with the Ukraine national team. Andriy Shevchenko played under Jose Mourinho while he was at Chelsea; it wasn’t the greatest relationship; it only added an extra element to the game. While Roma we’re looking for points to get them back into the thick of things in the Champions League race, Genoa is merely just looking for the possibility of climbing out of the bottom three. It was a very rainy Sunday night as it had somewhat of an effect on the match. It turned out to be a theatrical 90 minutes between two teams looking for points for very different reasons. Jose Mourinho switched his formation, and it seemed to work in the early part of the game. Roma dominated possession and the run of play and eventually was going to breakthrough. It looked like Mkhitaryan had given Roma a goal when he struck from inside the box, but a handball called it off somewhat demoralizing considering its thin margins. Roma continued to cut them open but was having some difficulty converting their chances; it was a very slippery game with Genoa essentially having to sit back and defend constantly. Despite some sure-fire chances that Roma couldn’t convert, it was goalless after the first 45 minutes. In the second half the pressure mounted on a Roma team that needed the points just to allow the self-confidence back into the team. It was very tough; it can be challenging to get points in that Stadium; they provide certain energy that can be difficult to deal with. Despite being in total control and almost regularly on the verge of scoring, time was going against them, and it felt like it was running out Genoa at one chance that Rui Patricio was able to deal with, but outside of that, it was all Roma. Late in the game, Jose Mourinho went to the bench bringing on 18-year-old Felix Afena; he thrusted forward on a counter-attack making a introduction to remember scoring a goal with eight minutes remaining he celebrated with emotion to give Roma a 1-0 lead then in the dying minutes of the game you got the ball again as he pushed it forward the goalkeeper slightly pushing off and launched an absolute a rocket from well outside into the back of the net an absolute screamer Roma secures a 2-0 win to get back on the right track as 18-year-old Felix Afena makes his official introduction to Italian football scoring twice from the bench to propel Roma to the points in Genoa.

After preparations and predictions of the match to underway at the Luigi Ferraris in Genoa on a rainy Sunday night, Roma got after it immediately, showing their aggressiveness and attitude. They had so much possession in the early parts of this game, and they were constantly pushing the tempo into the Danger area, in which they found gaps repeatedly. Just minutes into the game Jordan Veretout delivered a wonderful ball into the box; as he found Shomurodov, he glided through the air making a connection, but his header went wide in more ideal conditions. Uzbekistan forward probably could have done better with it. Roma got forward, and we’re moving the ball around so swiftly the new formation seemed to have worked in the early part of this game. A beautifully put together attack ended with henrikh Mkhitaryan striking from just inside the Box, but video review chopped off the goal because of alleged handling of the ball inside the box from Tammy Abraham; how accurate that is I’m not so sure it did touch his arm on the way through, but nothing could have been done to avoid that. Genoa got barely any of the ball at one point had 94% possession in the first 15 minutes. The use of the wing-backs, especially regarding to Rick karsdorp Roma, was able to use the outside what feeding the inside of the box opening up the possibilities in the manner in which they are capable of attacking. Just before the 20-minute mark, shomurodov was put through by Tammy Abraham, but the result was the same this time Sylvester Sirigu made the save from close. Six minutes later, Genoa ended up with a rare opportunity, but Rui Patricio managed to make the save. As the half-hour, Mark was approaching, Roma had an impeccable chance to take the lead as Mkhitaryan and Stephan El Shaarawy launched forward El Shaarawy threaded the ball from very close range into Shomurodov botched the situation as he fires high then what should have been a simple finish and the first goal of the game. Another player that wore the number 14 had similar issues in front of goal. Patrik Schick ended up going to Germany and thriving, but in the Roma colors, he significantly struggled after a miss like that; some small doubt did creep into my mind temporarily. Roma continued to dominate the game as it was a very slippery battle with the weather contributing to the physicality of the play; it wasn’t physical by its nature, but it ended up being that way considering the effect that the weather had on the match. Late in the first half, Mkhitaryan that is excellent chance on goal with a strike from outside the box but just a little high in the execution. It would end the first half without a goal from either side despite Roma clearly showing their superiority, but I do have not come yet, even though it felt like it was on the cards.

It was a very well put together first half from Roma away from home in a place that can be difficult to play; they showed improvements from their last couple performances. It looked like the new formation was very effective despite not finding the back of the net. Complete control as the ball was very rarely in Roma’s danger area. Roma was constantly putting incredible pressure on the Genoa backline; they were under duress constantly, and their counter-attacking play it did open up pretty regularly down the stretch. They look much different than they have in past weeks, the changing of the formation mainly contributing to the counter-attacking play and how dangerous they were at other times. The only issue was they were not converting as of yet, something that needed to change as this felt like a must-win. Mkhitaryan missed the mark fired from outside the box to start the second half Roma remained in control, but their high-quality chances were limited despite that. There weren’t high-quality chances until about 20 minutes remaining when Lorenzo Pellegrini had a perfect shot on goal with Defenders draped around him couldn’t find the bottom corner as it was dealt with. Shortly after, henrikh Mkhitaryan once again tried testing the goalkeeper, but his shot from long range still couldn’t find the back of the neck despite it being a rather electric game. Roma made their first change as Jose Mourinho brought on 18-year-old Felix Afena, making a pretty immediate impact one minute after entering the pitch, he put his head through a Jordan veretout cross fired wide, but it put some pressure on the goalkeeper as it very nearly could have posed a more significant threat. The chances all of a sudden they were coming freely Stephan El Shaarawy launch from outside the box failing to reach the target and then with 10 minutes remaining Tammy Abraham came very close striking from the right side. Seemed like we were heading for a goalless draw. Still, Roma finally broke through has Henrik Mkhitaryan got Roma on the counter-attack in the 82nd minute with players to his left and his right; he threaded a pass into the box to find Felix Afena, the 18-year old follow through seeing his strike get buried into the bottom corner as Roma took a 1-0 lead. The Roma Academy graduate burst with emotion and excitement, running over to Jose Mourinho. The team celebrated with the youngster that scored his first prossional goal as the struck late to give themselves a late lead. With three minutes to go, Chris Smalling returned from injury, getting a quick run out. Roma had more or less has secured the victory; however, in a last-gasp chance, lightning struck twice. Felix Afena, in the closing seconds from outside this area deep outside the box, pulled one in what was an ambitious strike; however it was hit so clean it found a home in the top right corner in what could be one of the goals of the season as Roma took a 2-0 lead as the youngster scores his first goals for the club in a very important win as a Roma strike late in the rain against Genoa to secure the points.

Before International break Aroma, we were going through a tough stretch of games; their performances just hadn’t been up to standard. Even in the games that they were winning as a collective, they have been very disappointing as of late and needed a significant result in Genoa to attempt to get the season at back on the right track as this is a team coming into this that needed an infusion of confidence. Jose Mourinho acknowledged that something wasn’t quite right. Jose Mourinho, to his credit, makes the suitable adjustments going to a back three that logically makes more sense considering Roma’s personnel. Drops Lorenzo Pellegrini a little further back, at least in this game which is concerning because his attacking prowess is on a World level right now. However, playing with a back 3 worked perfectly against Genoa. It was raining conditions, and it did take into the last 10 minutes for Roma to get their goals; however, they dominated the game; they had total control possession, but most importantly, they got on the counter-attack pretty regularly. There were a few chances that Roma should have done better with. Still, the main point here is that Roma may have unlocked something with this formation the way the wing-backs were so influential in the attack and they found ways to be effective; this game did take a bit of time for them to take advantage of it finally, but the Tactical adjustment was exactly what was needed. Roma got the points in a very important victory, something that they needed to re-energize the squad. It was extraordinary to see Felix come off the bench to score twice, a brilliant tactical decision by Jose Mourinho. Still, personally, the thing that was the most impressive about the change of strategy in this game, in particular, was the inclusion of the wing-backs. Rick karsdorp is a very productive right back; however, when the Dutchman is operating out of a wingback position, he goes to another level. Definitely, the man of the match the explosion that we saw from that side both in creating himself and creating for his teammates was masterful; the headlines rightfully so will belong to the youngster they made his introduction to Italian football with two late goals, but the work that Rick Karsdorp and Stephan El Shaarawy to a certain extent did as Wing backs which commended to see under this new formula Roma certainly have the capability a being a much more dangerous team it wasn’t always pretty. Still, Roma was the better team from the jump as they secured the three points with some late drama. Still, the performance as a whole with the best Roma have played since the beginning of the season Roma now grab some much-needed confidence and momentum that should even push them further over the next couple weeks as they win in Genoa in the rain with Felix, the hero with two late goals for the teenager.

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