AS Roma‘s lack of cutting edge in attack was laid bare as they fell to a late 1-0 defeat against Red Bull Salzburg in the first leg of their knockout play-off tie in the Europa League on Thursday. The Lupi were in control in Austria but threw the match away after wasting chance after chance, before allowing their hosts to snatch a late winner.
It has become a regular feature of Roma this season, with a wealth of attacking talent failing to translate into goals, and Jose Mourinho was left frustrated by a failure to force a way through. Having dominated for most of the match, the Lupi were undone by a late Nicolas Capaldo header with just minutes remaining.
Abraham and Belotti out of sorts
England international Tammy Abraham squandered numerous chances, including two headers and an excellent opportunity after being released by a pinpoint Bryan Cristante pass, and the former Chelsea striker endured a difficult evening at the Red Bull Arena.
After firing Roma to the inaugural Europa Conference League title last season with nine goals, Abraham has been far less prolific this term and only found the back of the net once in Europe. Coupled with his return of just six Serie A goals, Abraham‘s struggles have been indicative of the Lupi’s woes in attack.
Indeed, the capital club are by far the lowest scoring team in Serie A‘s top seven, with just 29 goals on the domestic front in stark contrast to the 41 netted by Inter and Atalanta, 38 and 37 by AC Milan and Lazio respectively, and the sensational 54 goals scored by Napoli.
Substitute Andrea Belotti missed a wonderful chance late in the second half after meeting a corner from just yards out, but was denied by a strong Philipp Kohn hand. The summer signing has suffered a miserable season and failed to make any impact of note since arriving from Torino, despite hopes that he could take the pressure off Abraham.
Roma sweat over Dybala
Perhaps the biggest concern for those of a Giallorossi persuasion is the departure of Paulo Dybala as a half-time substitute, with the Argentina international pulling the strings since his return from injury before the World Cup break.
Roma look short of ideas and inspiration without the former Juventus man on the pitch, and Lorenzo Pellegrini has not found the form he displayed last season.
The Lupi will be hoping that Dybala is available for their Champions League qualification run-in, as well as the return leg against Salzburg at the Stadio Olimpico, as Roma fight to keep their European dream alive.