AS Roma has a hefty task ahead of them to take on Real Madrid and turn it around in the second leg of Champions League Round of 16, unlike last time. Their manager, Spalletti, would be hoping for a much better performance from his squad, especially after coming off seven wins in a row in Serie A.
After the first leg, Real Madrid is leading the race against AS Roma with the 2-0 aggregate score. Roma will have to score at least three goals without conceding if they want to progress further into the UCL.
Would it be possible for Roma to go against the odds and register a comeback?
Pieces Missing From Roma’s Infantry:
Roma has had some issues regarding injuries this season, with key-figure Daniele De Rossi missing out on almost half of the season. The homeboy is the heart and brains of Roma’s defensive midfield. However, the club has managed well without their key player.
The injury that will haunt Roma is that to Antonio Rudiger, who has been the backbone for Roma, protecting their defensive line more often than not. Tactically, the German is one of the few defenders in the world who encompasses the pace and vigilance to keep up with the Real Madrid’s attacking surge.
Spalletti understands it more than anyone else that increasing number of shirts in his defense line is not going to help his cause much. If they are to go in all-positive, with some hope to win, the Italian giants will have to penetrate with an attacking vibe and put as much pressure on Los Blancos until they catch them with surprise.
Rudiger’s replacement, Edin Dzeko may not have been at his best since his arrival in Italy, but he brings an edge over every other player in Roma with his more flexible style of play. The Bosnian striker can shoot the ball from a long range and convert passes into goals from the weirdest of angles.
No doubt Real Madrid probably has the best attack in the world. Madrid’s forwards showed their incomparable attack-power last week against Celta after thrashing them with 7-1. A club like Roma, which has promising strike pair in the form of Salah and Shaarawy, would expect a somewhat similar scoreline at least once in a season against weak opposition. So far it hasn’t happened for the Italian club.
Since Shaarawy arrived on loan from AC Milan in late January, it has taken him some time to settle in with his new club and get used to of playing behind Salah. Since last few games, both the players have pulled off magical moments which is the brightest part of Roma going into the second leg. Shaarawy has already scored five goals and assisted two in his six league appearances.
The Italian giants will have to pull off an extraordinary effort and launch a full-on attack against the Spanish side and get them by surprise without giving away much.
As of now, Roma is in big trouble. If things go smoothly, Real Madrid will easily go through to the quarterfinals.