Chris Smalling’s header sinks Cremonese in Rome in home opener #1535

A.S Roma 1 Cremonese 0

Following an opening victory to start the season for the Roma in a 1–0 win in Salerno against Salernitana, Roma prepared for their home opener on Monday night in prime time. It has been a very uneventful weekend in Italian football with many draws across the board. However, there was the hope of more excitement on Monday night in Rome. That desperately needed infusion into Italian football this week. They would host newly promoted cream in their home opener. The newly promoted side battled against Fiorentina last week. Nearly escaping with a point, but a late blunder saw them stunned in the stoppage. The Olimpico was packed as 60,000 were in attendance. The big news coming into the game was the injury to Gini Wijnaldum, as the Dutch midfielder is out for three months, putting them at risk of missing the world cup for the Netherlands. However, Roma must go on as the new look. Roma would be on display in front of the Roma faithful for the first time in the season as we approached the kickoff in the Italian capital.

Roma is back in business at the Stadio Olimpico as the long-awaited return. Last week in Salerno, Roma started quickly As Roma had the same philosophy of looking at a fast start to get things going. That’s precisely what we saw from the hosts. With the 60,000 attendance, Roma felt embraced by the moment and went after it from the beginning. Newly promoted sides can be tricky, but Roma’s resume and record against teams coming into the league for the first time immaculate. There was always a sense that they were going to feel confident going into a game like this while also respecting the opposition and what they bring to the table. Tammy Abraham connected with Lorenzo Pellegrini as the Capitano fires a strike inside the box on the left. Radu managed to get his hands on it starting strongly after the blunder from a week ago. Roma got on the break again, with Nicolo Zaniolo and Dybala looking dangerous. They both took a swipe from deep but ran into the Cremonese defense. Lorenzo Pellegrini looked from deep, but this time he missed the mark with a comprehensive strike. Roma felt in control, and they kept themselves in dangerous positions. Paolo Dybala looks for Tammy Abraham in the box. The Englishman connected, but once again, the shot was deflected from the defense. Setting up a corner with Lorenzo Pellegrini finding Gianluca Mancini, who tries to get on the end of it but can’t entirely steer at home. Eventually, a little momentum would be building from the opposition. Cremonese looked to catch Roma off guard with a strike from distance by David Okereke his strike was slightly deflected, landing in the hands of Rui Patricio. The Cremonese striker scored against Roma twice last season playing with relegated Venezia. So certainly, a threat at least potentially has the possibility to be just not on that occasion. Zaniolo provided some magic, with Dybala connecting the past to the young Italian. He takes a well-time strike. Radu struggles with it but manages to make the save before Paolo Dybala follows through on the follow-up, but the Romanian makes the save again. Considering his recent blunders, Radu started the game exceptionally well for the opposition. Roma rebound from this well and got themselves back in a dangerous position again. This time. Tammy Abraham follows through with a powerful strike, but once again, Radu tracks the ball well, collecting it in the bottom corner. Roma continued to have control, but the opposition pushed back, and as the game unveiled, they were growing in confidence despite the high intensity shown by the Romans. Rick karsdorp found a little spinazzola with a cross. The wingback that missed all last season due to injury went for it with an ambitious touch but less something to be desired. Cremonese came forth not long after as Dessers came close after putting his foot through a headed pass. Unfortunately, a few minutes later, there was a collision forcing Zaniolo to be down for stretches at a time. From the live play, it looks like he had injured his shoulder as he hit the ground. Ultimately, Stephan El Shaarawy came in to replace him. There was a surge of chances coming at the end of the first half. Roma had done an incredible job in creating the chances. Dybala once again, looks magical but it is going to take some time for him to adapt to his new surroundings, but nonetheless, he looked fantastic when he had the ball at his feet. Despite a big mess earlier in the first half. Dybala and Abraham were both saved by Radu as the first half was coming to a close. It ended with Tammy Abraham across the top trying to get his head on the end of a header following an incredible counter with Pellegrini and Dybala pulling the strings. Roma struggled to break through as the first half came to a close with a goalless affair at the break.

Roma remained to look sharp in this one but still left something to be desired in front of goal. However, momentum was building, especially that late chance at the end of the first half. Roma thriving on good energy with the crowd behind them as Lorenzo Pellegrini rips off an early chance just minutes into the second half. The Roma captain cuts outside, finding some space on the right before ripping a strike that was quickly dealt with by Radu. Cyriel Dessers nearly broke the deadlock shortly after Rui Patricio was slightly caught off guard as Cremonese came through looking dangerously. The former Feyenoord striker was on the opposite side of the triumph in Albania in the conference League Final hits the post as Roma Dodge a bullet. They had a lot of the ball in the second half, and it really looks like they were going to provide some uncomfortable situations for the Romans. Not long after looking to get one passed Rui Patricio, Santiago Escobar, but the Portuguese shot-stopper manages to collect. The momentum still resided with the Roma as they were in a very intense battle with their opposition. They still looked very dangerous, especially on the outside, while also being able to dictate the midfield. Pablo Dybala had a striking block before Roma got on the break, and it looks like they were on the verge of getting that goal finally. Stephan El Shaarawy on that right side was terrific. He may not be a scoring machine as we can only really count on him for a few goals a season. He still has a level of explosion. They still difficult to deal with. He controlled the pace in the way he pushed forward, mutually having a one-on-one getting around the defender before looking for the top corner, but Radu comes up with a save. Once again, he was there again and was put through by Paulo Dybala. Despite his best efforts, the results were the same as Roma still looks for that opening goal. Dressers look dangerous again at the Roma goal, but Rui Patricio didn’t need to react this time. They would get in a problematic position every once in a while, and they did show their qualities throughout the match, but Roma was determined to get that breakthrough. It eventually happened. Lorenzo Pellegrini, Tammy Abraham, and Pablo Dybala all had various chances as Roma moved the ball well into dangerous positions. Still, the defense did a good job of getting in the way of things as they struggled to get a clean look despite putting a lot of pressure on them. Hey Lorenzo, Pellegrini’s strike forced a corner. Then in the 65th minute. Lorenzo Pellegrini found Chris Smalling in the box as he’s done a terrific job defensively tonight. Found enough space separation from his defender, putting his head through the cross into the back of the net as Roma took a 1–0 lead roughly 25 minutes ago.

It wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t need to be as Roma does seem to get the goal in the end. The goal forced Cremonese to be aggressive. They had to risk everything if they would avoid defeat a few minutes after the goal. Rui Patricio was forced into making a terrific save in the top corner, and then a few minutes later, they came down again and nearly were able to squeeze the ball into the bottom corner and go just wide. They have the quality even as a newly promoted side. You can see the potential of what they can do. Roma got forward and nearly put it away. Putting Tammy Abraham right in the area where he can be the most effective. He gets around looking to beat the keeper, but Radu, who had a terrific game, managed to get to it. Roma brought on Nemanja Matic and Nicola zalewski as Paulo dybala and Leo spinazzola come off. The giallorossi faithful gave Palo Dybala a standing ovation, another terrific performance but more so than anything else, welcoming him to the club. Zeki Çelik came late on of a run-out and looked good. Roma was holding off as it looked like they would secure another narrow victory. In the 90th minute, though, Cremonese Hits the left post as frustration hits them. Roma held off and just kept possession throughout stoppage time as the final whistle blew with Roma with another narrow victory setting up a clash for Juventus on Saturday.

It turned out to be incredibly intense between a new look Roma, that is expected to challenge for the Champions League this season against a newly promoted side that is playing in their first campaign in a very long time. We saw the newly promoted side be very ambitious and go for the throat against a well-balanced Roma. Roma was under significantly more pressure on Monday than they were in the season opener last weekend. They played with risk even though Roman still ended up getting the points, and the opposition couldn’t cash in on it. They showed their qualities. They may not have the type of names that we would all recognize, but they went for it. Trying to make things as difficult as humanly possible against Roma, and for the most part, they played exceptionally well and made things tough. It was a very physical and overpowering battle between two teams that are on completely separate sides of the spectrum in terms of talent. Despite this, they handled themselves as well as they could have. They hit the bar a couple of times. They tested Rui Patricio putting themselves in dangerous positions when they had the ball. They look dangerous, and there were times were Roma had to hold their breath. It is tough games like these that define the type of team That Roma has ambitions to be. During the dynasty of Juventus. They would win a lot of tough games where they were struggling. Roma has done this here in Rome in front of the 60,000 in attendance. It is still working progress, and there’s still much to be done. It may not have been a perfect performance for Roma, but they still showed some incredible qualities. The movement of the ball between Lorenzo Pellegrini, who was an absolute menace on the night, doing a little bit of everything for Roma. The level of Paolo Dybala shines through yet again, and the connection between the attack constellation with Tammy, Abraham, and Nicolo Zaniolo. They had some opportunities in the first half to put a stamp on the game but were unable to do so. It wasn’t the most pleasing opening performance. However, they found themselves in situations where maybe, on another day, They potentially could have been a little bit more precise in front of goal. However, in the buildup to the attack, they put together. Incredible chance creation, and when they were on the counter-attack, they looked extremely dangerous. A few times, the opposition were bailed out because of the intensity that Rome was playing with. Unfortunately, Zaniolo had to leave the pitch due to injury. However, the introduction of Stephan El Shaarawy was a blessing in disguise. The level didn’t drop, and he showed what he can provide to this Roma team. On the other hand, both of the wing-backs played extremely well. It is so nice to see Leo spinazzola playing as well as he is, considering what he’s been through. There seems to be a similarity between the two games. Using the outside panels will be a massive part of what they do this season. The movement and connection between the playmakers in the tight areas allow space for Leo and Rick to make those runs on the outside. Defensively it was another great performance as well. If he can, Chris Smalling seems to win every header in the air and has been such a hugely important part of Roma. Stay healthy! He will consistently push himself as one of the best center-backs in the league. He is approaching a hundred games for the club and, in the Roman revolution getting the goal in the most opportune moment. The acquisition of Chris Smalling has played a significant role in the direction the club is heading. Lorenzo Pellegrini and Chris Smalling were absolutely incredible, in addition to Paulo Dybala, who, in a matter of time, is going to do some incredible things with this club. Every time he touches the ball, you see the quality that he possesses. However, I’m going to be in the minority here but to me, Stephan El Shaarawy was the man of the match. He is accepted a less significant role in the team and was not expected to play as many minutes as he did. He came on for Nicolo, and the level escalated. It was the best I’ve seen him play in several years. If he can come in and provide contribution like that on a regular basis, It will certainly go into the depth of quality that Roman now will have off the bench. Next Saturday, Roma’s first big test as Paolo Dybala will return to Juventus for the first time since leaving and joining Roma as a free agent. Juventus drop points tonight against Sampdoria in a goalless draw, setting up what should be an excellent clash this Saturday.

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