A few stories. Three points had to be and three points were. Pegs on the nose and take home the booty, holding any aesthetic objections for other occasions. Qualification is done (beating Real, probabilissimi first in the group). The head of Manolas after four minutes (accomplice that Akinfeev Igor who still today, after four years, is the nightmare of Fabio Capello, at the time coach of the Russian national team) paved the way from a manual. The usual set piece kick. Ball in the pile and perceptone soaring, in short, Rome method. At that point it was enough to ensnare the modest Russians, largely not up to their audience, not faint from the cold and take home the game. Too easy. This time it was Santut's fugitive to complicate his life. The CSKA first deluded himself with the most talented and then committed suicide with the poorest of his Icelanders. Eleven against ten, Roma needed only three or four players alive, Kluivert and Pellegrini over all, to give themselves and say qualified, not making a fool of too much trouble (too much, too friable behind).
Finish this game with the heart in the throat it is criminal, to the point that Eusebius almost gets a cuddle for anger. Soft back and forth, wasteful beyond tolerable, but with three points in your pocket and patience if you find out that Pellegrini's 2 to 1 stinks offside.
Moscow was the crossroads of death. The season of Rome goes hard in the lead, lame duck in the league, forced to imagine how a fourth-place enterprise. All that remains is to hope for the replica of the beautiful story of "once upon a time in Europe …". Missing the three points last night would have been a tomb.
The doubts remain, everyone. The inconvenience remains. It is not known why this story has long circulated that Rome is a bipolar team. Nothing could be more false. Rome's problem is that it is too much the same as itself. Far too decipherable. Physical team (but only or almost in the kicks), poor talent and conviction, with very few game ideas. Who builds his alternate fortunes on the reliability and the occasional exploits of a few, the usual legionnaires, the goalkeeper on all and this Lorenzo Pellegrini, more and more leader.
The good news of the evening is called Justin Kluivert, pure effervescence but this time at the service of the team. That, added to the Zaniolo of Florence (good even the ten minutes of Moscow), they hope that there may be, not far, another Rome for which to get excited.