Atalanta came into this match against Roma having won their previous 3 matches against this opposition. So, it was no surprise to see Atalanta applying the early pressure with the first shot of the game on target by Juventus slayer Ruslan Malinovsky and it was he who opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a first time finish from inside the box after a delightful ball across by Roben Gosens.
Atalanta continued to create chances with Zapata and Freuler drawing sharp saves from Pau Lopez. Paulo Fonseca would have been very worried with how his team had no answer to Atalanta’s beautiful linkup play in attack as the first half ended.
8 – A partire da marzo 2021 Ruslan #Malinovskiy ha preso parte a 8 gol in Serie A (tre reti e cinque assist), nessun altro centrocampista ha fatto meglio nel periodo nei top-5 campionati europei, alla pari di Jesse Lingard. Scultore.#RomaAtalanta #SerieA pic.twitter.com/pJpzEeUMkI
— OptaPaolo 🏆 (@OptaPaolo) April 22, 2021
In the second half, Atalanta picked up from where they left off as they continued to create chances with minimal pressure from Roma’s defence. Roben Gosens was sent off with a couple of quick yellows in the 69th minute and Roma grew back into the game, getting their equalizer after Atalanta failed to charge down a speculative shot by Bryan Cristante in the 76th minute. Muriel and Dzeko both missed good chances to win the game, with the former missing an open shot at goal midway through the second half. Though Roger Ibanez got himself sent off during the closing stages of the match and that’s all she wrote.
The point sees Atalanta climb above Juventus into 3rd on goal difference while Roma consolidate their hold on 7th position.
🔥 WOW! 🔥
Bryan Cristante with a rasping drive – we're level! 💪#ASRoma #RomaAtalanta pic.twitter.com/PslPqhPdLY
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) April 22, 2021
Here are three key takeaways from the fixture:
ATALANTA READY FOR A CHAMPIONS LEAGUE REPEAT
Gian Paolo Gasperini’s side have become Italy’s darling side over the past few seasons, and it’s easy to see why. Their options in attack are so creative and skilful together that they had no problems cutting through Roma’s defences at will on numerous occasions.
Zapata, Ilicic and Malinovsky form a terrific trio up top with Muriel able to supply from the bench. But truth be told, on any given day, you would not want to bet against any of their front six scoring. They are five points clear of Napoli in 5th and will look to keep their foot on the pedal as Serie A reaches its business end.
HEADACHES GALORE FOR FONSECA
The Roma manager made seven changes to the side that lost 3-1 to Torino in their last match day but he would be a concerned man right now as his team’s defence offered almost no cover for their goalkeeper when it was 11 vs. 11.
Though they managed to secure a point, Fonseca will know this kind of performance just won’t cut it against Manchester United whom they meet next week at Old Trafford. Their hopes of making the Champions League spots are thin but not non-existent and will need a Herculean effort from now to get to Juventus, who currently occupy 4th and are 10 points ahead after today.
TONIGHT PROVED WE DO NOT NEED THE EUROPEAN SUPER LEAGUE
Throughout the match, the commentators had ravaged the formulation of the breakaway with words like “misguided” and “no competition, no dream.” This match was a prime example why it is important that a competitive structure remains in our footballing ecosystem.
Both teams’ budget are dwarfed by what the Super League clubs have yet Atalanta are fighting for a Champions League spot and are above Juventus in the table, having reached the Round of 16, the same as the Old Lady and Athletico Madrid.
In comparison, Manchester United were knocked out at the group-stage while Arsenal and Tottenham did not even make the tournament. Roma themselves face the Red Devils in the Semi-Finals and no doubt will be looking to get past one of the supposed ringleaders of the whole messy affair. Football is for every team and today was yet another reminder of that.