The Giallorossi must beat Ludogorets on Thursday to progress from the group stages of the Europa League, as any other result won’t do, before the small matter of the Derby della Capitale against Lazio on Sunday.
Late drama the Bentegodi
Jose Mourinho‘s side were second best in the first half in Verona and found themselves deservedly trailing to a Pawel Dawidowicz goal from a corner, until the Pole got himself sent off and Nicolo Zaniolo netted his first of the season in stoppage time.
Having drawn level at the death in the first half, Roma were even more fashionably late in the second period as they broke Veronese hearts with a double on the stroke of full-time, courtesy of precocious young midfielder Cristian Volpato, and Stephan El Shaarawy‘s chipped finish.
Defining week in the Lupi’s season
Having gone into the Europa League as one of the favourites, following last season’s Europa Conference League triumph, Roma now find themselves in danger of elimination before Christmas.
Currently lying in third in their group with one game left to play, the pressure is on to beat Ludogorets and leapfrog them into the knockout stages, but the Lupi must immediately refocus for a crunch derby match against Lazio.
It made the victory over Verona all the more important, with the psychological lift of the manner of the win sure to give Roma a burst of confidence.
The win also took Mourinho‘s men above the Aquile in the table going into the match at the Stadio Olimpico at the weekend, and with Lazio‘s excellent form prior to a shock defeat to Salernitana, every point in the race for Champions League qualification is crucial.
Despite the win, Mourinho will be growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of goals from striker Tammy Abraham.
The England international spearheaded the attack expertly and proved to be a prolific acquisition last season, but has struggled to replicate his eye for goal this term.
Abraham had a glorious chance to break the deadlock in the first half after latching onto a Rick Karsdorp through ball and rounding goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo, but with an open goal at his mercy he could only strike the post.
This was followed up minutes later by a header that was guided wide from close range, and the former Chelsea man has only registered two league goals in 12 appearances.
Despite an embarrassment of riches in attack, with Paulo Dybala, Andrea Belotti, Zaniolo, and El Shaarawy supporting Abraham, Mourinho is yet to make it click and needs his star striker firing again.