Roma 1-1 Udinese: As the Olimpico Awaits Arsenal, Giallorossi Saved by Vucinic (Serie A Matchday 27)

Roma 1-1 Udinese: As the Olimpico Awaits Arsenal, Giallorossi Saved by Vucinic (Serie A Matchday 27)

After a week of steamy press release rants, counter-declarations, suspensions, and controversy (all stemming from last Sunday’s 3-3 affair), Roma could not do better than a 1-1 home draw to Udinese Saturday. A result not doing much good for either team, and which certainly doesn’t help the Giallorossi’s morale in light of their upcoming UCL match vs. Arsenal. With Daniele De Rossi suspended, Totti in iffy condition, and David Pizarro just joining the injury list, Luciano Spalletti will have some serious tactical thinking to do before Tuesday.

The upside for the Romans? Mirko Vucinic. The Montenegrin striker came on for Menez in the 58th and went on the scoreboard just 3 minutes later, tying the game for a valuable point. It’s the kind of scoring efficiency Roma will need against Arsenal, hoping that the stream of dubious refereeing decisions surrounding them will come to an end.

Serie A 2008-09 - Roma vs. Udinese

Serie A 2008-09 - Day 27 - Roma 1-1 Udinese

It was Luciano Spalletti’s 50th birthday Saturday but a suspension kept the Roma boss in the stands, with his replacement (assistant Marco Domenichini) directing the troops from the sideline. Cassetti, Perrotta, and Totti were all unavailable, prompting the vice-manager to field a 4-2-3-1 line-up with Julio Baptista lone striker supported by Menez-Brighi-Taddei. On the other end, Marino replied with his usual 4-3-3 attacking trio: Di Natale, Floro Flores and Pepe.

Luciano Spalletti sits in the Olimpico stands

The match wasn’t a great start. The best chance (as big as it was fortuituous) came from the feet of Taddei: Felipe missed a clearance and the ex-Siena player had a good opportunity for the shot, but his execution left a lot to be desired. Udinese grew stronger as time passed, certainly better than a Roman side plagued by injuries & absentees (and forced to field substitutes in less than optimum condition). Floro Flores missed a good opportunity by sending his shot the outside of the goal mesh, then did even worse a few minutes later, failing to properly connect with a perfect cross from Di Natale 5 metres from Doni.

With their team already struggling play-wise, Roma’s list of problems grew even longer with Pizarro’s injury: near the end of the first half, the Chilean player raised his arms in unequivocal way and left the pitch almost in tears. First prognosis seems to be a quad muscle (quadriceps femoris) tear, making it very unlikely he’ll be able to play against Arsenal.

Udinese players celebrate the first goal

Later, Udinese were denied a penalty as Inler entered the box and saw Mexès (already on a booking) deflecting the ball with his arm. Referee Paolo Tagliavento waved ‘play on’ under general visitor disbelief. Udinese’s screams turned to joy however when Felipe, left completely alone by Roma’s defence, headed the ball in from an accurate assist by Di Natale. Doni’s aerial challenge left something to be desired, and it was 1-0 Udinese.

With the home team seriously in trouble (the pace set up by Udinese was too hard for De Rossi and Brighi, well below par today) a ray of hope arose from the Roma bench. Off came Menez, on came Mirko Vucinic, a player doing essentially the same things as the French winger but with slightly different results. Starting on the left wing, the Montenegrin striker converged towards the center and blasted a powerful daisy-cutter where Handanovic’s hands couldn’t reach. 1-1 and a draw arriving just when the Giallorossi were at their worst.

Roma's Mirko Vucinic (L) celebrates with teammate Christian Panucci

Roma’s impetus didn’t last long however. After a foul called on Brighi, De Rossi blatantly protested to Tagliavento picking up a yellow and red card in quick succession. A dismissal which could have caused Roma to sink completely, but instead Udinese almost completely stopped attacking (as if they were the ones playing one man down) and Montella almost made them pay: Felipe missed yet another clerance and left the room clear for “L’Aeroplanino” (who had come on for Pizarro in the first half), but the Roma striker muffled his effort and Handanovic could gather the ball with ease.

Until the full-time whistle Vucinic continued to be the most active player for the Giallorossi (also considering the inexistent help from Julio Baptista), but the Montenegrin’s will wasn’t enough to give Roma the lead. The match ended 1-1, under the boos of the Olimpico. Will they be booing at the end of Tuesday’s match as well?

Daniele De Rossi sees red against Udinese


A.S. Roma
[Match Highlights]
 Udinese Calcio
GOALSCORERS: 54’ Felipe (U), 61’ Vucinic (R).
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni – Motta, Mexès, Panucci, Riise – De Rossi, D.Pizarro (43′ Montella) – Taddei, Brighi, Menez (58’ Vucinic) – J.Baptista (73’ Cicinho). (bench: Artur, Diamoutene, Juan, Tonetto). Coach: Domenichini (Spalletti suspended).
UDINESE (4-3-3): Handanovic – Zapata, Coda, Felipe. Pasquale – Inler, D’Agostino, Asamoah – Floro Flores (85’ Quagliarella), Di Natale (70’ Sanchez), Pepe. (bench: Belardi, Sala, Zimling, Obodo, Isla). Coach: Marino.


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