Chris Smalling is back to his best as Roma hold off Speiza in Rome #1351

Score: A.S Roma 2 Speiza 0FT

Following a victory in the conference league on Thursday night, Roma returns home to try to get themselves out of the current rut. Roma needed some inspiration to gather the points on Monday night against Spezia with Atalanta next weekend at the Bergamo. Coming into this match, both teams needed points. Roma needed a sense of confidence as they try to climb back into the top six while Spezia is in a relegation battle sitting just two points out of the Drop Zone. It would be the student versus the teacher Jose Mourinho against Thiago Motta. Roma has not put together a performance of true inspiration since the loss of Lorenzo Pellegrini; however, at the Stadio Olimpico on a Monday night with the eyes of Italy on this game, they did not disappoint. This was one of the best performances they put together, at least recently. Roma got after it and opened up the scoring just minutes into the game, coming off a set-piece, Tammy Abraham connected on a header two, then found Chris Smalling as the pair of Englishmen link up to give Roma a 1–0 lead. Spezia occasionally got into dangerous areas, but it was a comfortable opening half for Roma, and they took the narrow lead into the second half. It was more of the same in the second half even though Spezia caused a bit more pressure in the second; it wasn’t something rui Patricio and the defense were not capable of handling. Roma ultimately doubled the lead as Rodger Ibanez converted on a corner as Roma took a 2–0 lead. They pretty much saw the game out until the very end; it looks like Roma had a third goal when Felix Afena hit the back of the net, but on the replay, it showed he used his arm in the build-up instead of a third goal he was given a second yellow card as he was sent off in the final moments, but the job was done Roma handle themselves on Monday Night under The lights at the Stadio Olimpico as they secure the points in a time they needed a victory as they hold off Spezia in what turned out to be a very important victory with Atalanta loaming they get the job done in Rome collect the points as Roma push themselves back into the top six.

After preparations and predictions, the match got underway at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Jose Mourinho Roma tries to climb the table while Thiago Motta and his Spezia side battle with survival. Roma was a threat almost immediately, putting pressure on the backline; you really could feel a sense of energy from the home side as the fans got behind them. Just a few minutes into the game, Tammy Abraham fired a shot coming from a Jordan veretout cross deflection went out for a corner, and that’s when Roma hit. In the sixth minute, Jordan veretout send a cross into the box off the corner Tammy Abraham with his physical size and body, gets his head on the end of it his header goes right into the space of Chris Smalling, who follows through, hitting the back of the net as Roma take a 1–0 lead. A rapid start for Roma as the two Brits connect on the opening goal it would be Chris smalling’s first goal of the season. It is lovely to see him back in the side as he is dealt with injury concerns this season and lassies before his awe-inspiring debut in Italian football.

Nonetheless, Roma is in front as they continue to feed off the energy from the crowd. After the opening goal, there was a period where it became possession football Roma was pushing the tempo, trying to get into the dangerous areas. Still, there was nothing concrete going for a little while. Then all of a sudden, it opened up before the half-hour mark. Tammy Abraham set up Matias Vina, who struck from the side of the box, but the goalkeeper managed to make the save. A minute later, Chris Smalling saw his header blocked following a cross from Jordan as the Frenchman instigates it again. Max kumbulla put a little more pressure on the keeper with the Albanian trying to push his header into the back of the net, but the goalkeeper once again had to extend to make the save. Near the end of the first half, Spezia tries to get involved in the action Reca was denied by rui Patricio, dealing with a strike from the side of the box. A couple of minutes later, he came through again but did not test the keeper whatsoever as his strike blasted over. Roma nearly breakthrough at the very end of the first half has Tammy Abraham hits the bar putting his foot through Hendrick Mkhitaryan’s cross. After 45 minutes, Roma maintained their 1–0 lead thanks to Chris Smalling.

Roma was more or less were in control in the first half, and you can see it with the performance Roma had possession control and was able to break through at the beginning; they came close on a few other opportunities. Things needed to change in the second half if Spezia would come back and do something. A minute into the second half, Manaj missed the mark to get things going in the second half. He came through again not long after, but rui Patricio was able to deal with the Spezia attack once again. In the 56th minute, Roma cashed in on another set. Jordan supplies the ball into the box, and out of the air, Rodger Ibanez finds the back of the net to give Roma a 2–0 lead. It would be the second goal of the season for Rodger Ibanez as Roma take a critical two-goal lead.

Roma would then go to the bench bringing on Felix Afena and Diawara, replacing Chris Smalling and bojar mayoral. Roma had the control and the momentum going for them, but Spezia still played very aggressively with able to put Roma under pressure. With a little more than 20 minutes remaining, henrikh Mkhitaryan tries something but fails to reach the target. Roma came forward again as Matias Vina put through Tammy Abraham, but the goalkeeper handled his strike from close range. There was a goal wiped off for offside from Spezia during that stretch, somewhat of a demoralizing thing for the opposition; they had a late chance with about eight minutes remaining, coming very close but missing the target. In stoppage-time, Felix Afena was given a Redcard after he handled the ball in the box before scoring; the goal was wiped off, and he was sent off in the final moments. Dominating at times gritty is difficult occasionally, but Roma secures the points with a 2–0 victory with goals coming from Chris Smalling and Rodger Ibanez as Roma gets some much-needed confidence ahead of a tough Clash against Atalanta next weekend

It wasn’t necessarily the most impressive performance, but Roma got the result in the end, which is vital at this point of the season. Considering Roma has a tough matchup next weekend. They were not playing particularly well coming into this; even though the performance may not have been the best, it should give them a sense of confidence and momentum. Roma scored on two set-pieces, with Rodger Ibanez and Chris Smalling getting the goals. Spezia looked dangerous when they got forward, but they did not get forward enough to damage a Roma side at home. Roma felt like they were in control for much at the game; the performance itself everyone is kind of saying it was poor, but I think considering what Roma are going into and how they were playing before the match, this was a much-improved performance that what we’ve seen over the last few weeks. Jose Mourinho gets the better of his student in Thiago Motta. In a tense affair on Monday night in Rome.. Tammy Abraham is the man of the match; he continues to play very well even though he could not find the back of the net. Regardless of performance, a match like this was essential for a Roma team with limited confidence. Roma have to do everything in their power and have to play almost perfectly if they’re going to get results next weekend in Bergamo. Still, the important thing here is they got the result they were looking for it was a much better performance than the last several weeks. We see them take advantage of set pieces that have not been a particular strength this season. Roma should be pleased by the results and the performance, not in general but in comparison to what it has been as Roma gets the victory; that should give them at least some sort of confidence ahead of what will be a tough match next weekend.

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