AS Roma Women fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Bayern Munich in their opening UEFA Women’s Champions League match of the season, with Manuela Giugliano grabbing the equaliser at the death.
The Giallorosse were the clear underdogs coming into the match but their superb domestic form and host of new talented players meant there was intrigue about how they might fare against one of Europe’s top sides.
The fact that it was 2-0 to Bayern at half-time suggested that they were still a long way off, but the fightback with goals from Evelyne Viens and Giugliano meant that Roma start the group stage with a superb point away from home.
Unfortunate first-half gives AS Roma a lot to do
Both teams had decent sights of goal in the first 15 minutes of the match, but it was Bayern Munich who certainly carried more of a threat. Georgia Stanway should have opened the scoring with a shot from range, whilst a loose ball fell kindly for Evelyne Viens in the Bayern box but she blazed her shot over.
It didn’t take much longer for the home side to take the lead, though. A free kick was swung into the Roma box which Glodis Perla Viggosdottir shouldered towards the far post, allowing Damnjanovic to poke in at the far post after 28 minutes.
Having been adamant that Damnjanovic was offside for the goal, Roma’s anger only grew when the same player left Lucia Di Guglielmo in serious pain after a very forceful challenge that sparked an attack for the German side and went unpunished.
Roma remained in the game and still posed something of a threat to Bayern, but an extremely unfortunate double-deflection off of Moeka Minami and Elena Linari meant that Camelia Ceasar was totally wrong-footed by Katharina Elisa Naschenweng‘s shot. The German side had a 2-0 lead at the break and the road looked long for Roma.
AS Roma get their reward for strong mentality
Despite being the underdogs and two goals down as the second half began, Roma came out with purpose and they grabbed a goal back before the hour mark after Giugliano slipped the ball through for Viens who calmly scored. That was Viens‘ eighth goal since she joined Roma in the summer, showing just how successful the Canadian has been.
As was largely the case in the first half, Roma were more than happy to take the game to Bayern and did not appear scared of their opponent at all. The mentality of Alessandro Spugna‘s side could not be questioned, the issue was the technical quality of the two sides.
Each time Bayern came forward, you felt a goal was possible. As for Roma, too many misplaced passes meant that promising positions were wasted.
Bayern should really have put the game to bed late on but Minami made an incredible block on the line. Haavi seemed to be the out-ball for Roma but she often found herself needing to beat two defenders before a cross or shot could be produced.
They were made to pay as the game ticked into the 90th minute. Roma finally managed to find some genuine space close to the Bayern goal and Viens‘ low cross was met by Giugliano who saw her shot saved. The Italian acted quickest, though, and managed to force the ball in and Roma were level.
They even almost won the game late on from a corner, but Spugna will be thrilled that his team could hold their own against such a big side and grab an admirable point in Europe on the road.