Roma still have it all to do to secure a top-four finish for Champions League play next season, but they’ve provided fans with a glimmer of hope with consecutive shutout victories. Claudio Ranieri’s men continue to battle injuries, and ever-changing lineups make finding consistency on the pitch a tall task. Nevertheless, in the last two matches we’ve witnessed what the team has largely lacked down the stretch: the ability to shore up in defense and grind out narrow results.
A trip to Sampdoria saw the home side dominate in possession (63 percent), but captain Daniele De Rossi willed his side to three points with the game’s only goal with just a quarter of an hour remaining. The latest triumph also came by way of a 1-0 scoreline, as lowly Udinese held firm before Stephan El Shaarawy’s clever flick set up Edin Dzeko to slot home for the eventual winner.
DZEKOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/yQrAJIO1od— RomaPress (@ASRomaPress) April 13, 2019
While rumors continue to fly as to who will man the dugout for the 2019-20 season, Ranieri’s task of injecting life into a battered squad and securing at least fourth place is coming down to the wire as both Milan clubs continue to do just enough to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
Supporters in Italy’s capital may be some of the most demanding in all of Europe, but for a club with just three league titles there is plenty to boast about in recent years. As traditional powers Inter and Milan have floundered, it’s been Napoli and Roma who have mounted the only really challenges to the Juventus machine since 2011. Participation in Europe’s elite competition has become the norm and a historic semifinal run in last year’s edition was the cherry on top.
With stadium plans in the works and an ever-growing global brand, there is reason for optimism in the Eternal City. Despite this, there is now little room for error after putting all hope into a project and watching it go up in flames with the departures of both manager and sporting director.
Missing out on the added revenue the Champions League brings would be a massive blow to their plans moving forward, particularly with the Nerazzurri and Rossoneri finding their footing once again. With just six matches remaining, it will likely take the same sort of no-frills performances of the last two weeks to salvage this season and regroup for 2019-20.