By Editor | September 4th, 2012 4 Comments
Guest Post by “Er Prof”
AS Roma was magnificent in Milan: glory, glory AS Roma!
Italian football’s Jedi, the holy man Zdenek Zeman, is now recognized as The Master not only in Rome, but in all of Italy. La Gazzetta dello Sport, the pink sports newspaper printed in Milan, which is, sadly, the most important Italian daily in terms of sales, is asking Andrea Stramaccioni, the youngest Italian coach now sitting on the Inter Milan bench, to learn the lessons imparted by Zeman’s AS Roma 3-1 thrashing of the nerazzurri on Sunday night.
The match wasn’t the typical Zemanian all-out assault I was used to watching 13 years ago during the Bohemian’s last stint as AS Roma manager. Sure, Inter’s Europa League qualifier on Thursday, which they played with only ten men for most of the game, partly explains their loss of pace in the second half. But the most important revelation of the game came from AS Roma’s new players, some of them very young and playing for the first time at the San Siro/Meazza, also known as “La Scala” of Italian soccer.
With AS Roma depleted in midfield — De Rossi came off after half an hour, Michael Bradley is out for a month, and Pijanic watched from the bench — the Greek Panagiotis Tachtsidis and the Rome-born wonder Alessandro Florenzi (both age 21) turned in amazing performances. They are two hugely promising young midfielders I was really curious to watch. Remarkably, instead of being intimidated by the grand San Siro stage, they played without any hint of fear. Both of them ran from the first minute to the last second of injury time. Florenzi, Tatchidis and Marquinho were more than mere replacements: incredibly efficient, they covered the entire pitch, giving space and opportunities for Totti to unleash the great Osvaldo and wreak havoc on the Inter defense.
Totti was incredible, heroic. He served a terrific cross that Florenzi (in photo above) headed in for the first goal and then midway through the second half dished a wonderful assist to Osvaldo, who spooned it over the keeper to score the second. Marquinho, De Rossi’s substitute, finished Inter off with a great goal nine minutes from time. Meanwhile, Inter had equalized without merit through a deflected shot by Cassano right before the halftime break. The only negative news came from Mattia Destro, the 21-year-old striker making his debut with the giallorossi. The tenacious marking of Nagatomo stifled him, the Japanese being one of the few Inter players able to do something against the mighty AS Roma.
In the end, the match stood out as a lesson in tactics from the oldest serie A coach to the youngest. As I look forward to the match against Bologna at the Olimpico this weekend, my ears are still ringing with the chant of AS Roma supporters on the San Siro terraces: “Corete, scappate, ariva lo squadrone gialllorosso, giallorosso” (run, flee, the great yellow-and-red team is coming; video sample here).