Saturday, December 4, 2021

Roma 0-0 Napoli: Key Talking Points As The Azzurri’s 100% Start Comes To An End

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, Serie A 25 Oct 2021

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Continuing to shock many across Europe since opening the 2021/22 campaign, Napoli were looking to lay down another marker when they made the trip to the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening.

However, the Azzurri suffered their first minor blip of the season as they had to settle for a fairly uneventful 0-0 stalemate away at a downbeat Roma side.

With Jose Mourinho’s side enduring that Europa Conference League nightmare out in Norway only three days ago, the Giallorossi managed to salvage a point after what has been a worrying week.

In a contest that was mainly stollen by the off-field antics on Sunday evening, we have taken a look at the key talking points.

Napoli lose their 100% start

While Napoli might have failed to find much stability on their Europa League adventure this season, the Azzurri have only continued to shock many across Italy as we inch closer to November.

Making the trip to the Stadio Olimpico after winning each of their opening eight Serie A contests, new boss Luciano Spalletti did see his side carve out some chances in the second-half.

However, while attacking talisman Victor Osimhen might have already bagged five top-flight goals so far this season, the Nigerian striker was denied twice by the woodwork.

Failing to bundle the ball over the line following Lorenzo Insigne’s cutback, Osimhen also had to watch on as his looped header could only clip the top of David Ospina’s crossbar midway through the second 45.

Although the former Roma boss might have seen his side sacrifice their 100% start to the season, the Blues did once again underline why some have tipped them to potentially claim their first Serie A crown since 1990.

Mourinho finds some kind of boost

Making the trip out to little-known Norweigan side Bodo/Glimt on Thursday evening, many expected what was going to be another routine Europa Conference League outing for Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

However, suffering his worst ever European defeat after a stunning 6-1 loss on foreign soil, the former Manchester United boss was extremely public with his criticism for a heavily altered team.

Making the decision to completely remove the likes of Borja Mayoral, Gonzalo Villar, Bryan Reynolds, Amadou Diawara and Marash Kumbulla from his matchday squad on Sunday, Mourinho almost got off to a perfect start on home soil.

With summer arrival Tammy Abraham steering his effort the wrong side of Rui Patricio’s post after 28 minutes, Roma quickly went into their shell in a second-half where they were heavily outplayed.

Although his side might have failed to pick up what would have been a much-needed victory at the Stadio Olimpico, there was time for Mourinho to once again make his mark on Sunday’s meeting.

Touchline fury

In a contest that produced the first 0-0 stalemate between Sunday’s opponents since 2015, most of the headlines at the Stadio Olimpico were stollen by the opposing managers in the dugout.

Coming under real scrutiny for that European hammering on foreign soil only three days prior, Mourinho was once again at the heart of more controversy as he was sent to the stands with under 10 minutes left on the clock.

Shown his first yellow card by referee Davide Massa midway through the first-half, Mourinho really pushed his luck as continued to shout his frustrations from the sidelines.

However, while the ex-Spurs boss might have been shown two bookings, Napoli Head Coach Spalletti was not to be outdone as he also caught the wrath of Massa moments after the final whistle.

Seen to be frustrated and deep in conversation with the 40-year-old ref, Spalletti was given a straight red card for dissent, despite the former Roma boss pleading his innocence.

What’s next for both?

Given his marching orders late into the second-half, there is no doubt that the former Manchester United boss has found himself at the heart of a rollercoaster week.

Receiving a huge ovation after being given his second yellow card, Mourinho will be desperate to find some momentum before all eyes fall on their second-leg meeting against Bodo/Glimt on November 4th.

Ahead of what is a must-win European showdown, Roma and Mourinho will be next seen on Wednesday night when they make the trip to Cagliari.

As for Napoli, after watching their remarkable 100% run come to an end at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening, the Blues will be looking to prove that was just a minor blip as they return to Diego Armando Maradona Stadium in midweek.

Before they also return their attention back to European duties in the first week of November, the Azzurri will be next seen on Wednesday when they host Bologna.

Match Report:

Roma: Patricio, Karsdorp, Mancini, Ibañez, Viña, Cristante, Veretout, Mkhitaryan, Pellegrini, Zaniolo, Abraham

Subs: El Shaarawy, Shomurodov

Napoli: Ospina, Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Koulibaly, Rui, Ruiz, Anguissa, Zieliński, Insigne, Politano, Osimhen

Subs: Lozano, Mertens, Elmas

Goals: N/A

Yellow Cards: Roma: Mourinho (manager), Karsdorp, Abraham, Mancini, Veretout – Napoli: Mertens

Red Cards: Roma: Mourinho (manager) – Napoli: Spalletti (manager)

Referee: Davide Massa

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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