It has been a bizarre half of football at the Olimpico, including a Robin Olsen howler, as Roma and Genoa are locked at 2-2.
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The atmosphere was extremely frosty after a series of poor results, culminating in a draw with nine-man Cagliari and Champions League defeat to Viktoria Plzen. The ultras staged a protest against club, players and Coach, staying silent for the opening 10 minutes, while there were critical banners all over the city.
With Edin Dzeko, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Stephan El Shaarawy still injured, Eusebio Di Francesco took a huge gamble, dropping Patrik Schick and using Nicolò Zaniolo as the False 9 in a 3-4-3 formation. Genoa were without a win since September 30, made their debut under third Coach of the season Cesare Prandelli in a 1-1 draw with SPAL, although Domenico Criscito was sent off after just 11 minutes. The captain was therefore suspended, with Gianluca Lapadula, Koray Gunter and Luca Mazzitelli injured.
It was the worst possible start for an already very nervous Giallorossi team. Oscar Hiljemark’s hopeful snapshot from distance squirmed through Robin Olsen’s arms and legs, he turned and watched it roll towards the empty net, but by the time he reacted, Krzysztof Piatek had already pounced to give Genoa the lead.
Roma tried to react, Federico Fazio drilling wide after a Zaniolo knockdown, and it worked the second time they attempted the free kick routine, the defender finding the near bottom corner from 13 yards.
However, it lasted barely two minutes before Roma were punished in a not dissimilar set play at the other end. Hiljemark was left completely unmarked to turn in from six yards at the back post after Sandro flicked on the corner.
With the last move of the half, Justin Kluivert ran forward from his own half, combined with Under and placed a precise angled drive into the far bottom corner.
Roma 2-2 Genoa (Half-Time)
Piatek 18 (G), Fazio 31 (R), Hiljemark 33 (G), Kluivert 45 (R)
Roma: Olsen; Fazio, Manolas, Juan Jesus; Florenzi, Cristante, Nzonzi, Kolarov; Under, Zaniolo, Kluivert
Genoa: Radu; Biraschi, Romero, Zukanovic; Romulo, Hiljemark, Sandro, Bessa, Lazovic; Piatek, Kouamé
Ref: Di Bello
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