Abraham the saviour of Rome in the Olimpico
Abraham the saviour of Rome in the OlimpicoA late Tammy Abraham goal sent AS Roma into the last eight of the UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL). A 1-1 draw on the night was enough for José Mourinho’s Roma side to progress 2-1 on aggregate.
The ‘Giallorossi‘ had succumbed to just one defeat in their last 11 competitive outings, and held a slender 1-0 lead heading into this second leg fixture. As expected, Mourinho’s men started on the front foot, against a Vitesse side who had only claimed one victory in their last six Eredivisie fixtures. Despite carrying the underdog status, the ‘Vites’ took the game to the hosts, and nearly opened the scoring when Adrian Grbić’s free-kick was expertly saved by Rui Patrício.
Roma, who hadn’t lost at home since January, struggled to break the visitors down, but eventually saw a scuffed strike from Jordan Veretout from the edge of the area whistle wide of the post. The contest proceeded to mill around in the middle of the park, as The ‘Giallorossi‘ failed to register an attempt on target in the first 45 minutes, unable to unlock a stern and rigid Vitesse defence.
Mourinho’s men came out of the traps immediately after HT, looking to forcefully impose themselves on the contest, before once again hitting the Vitesse brick wall. The Dutch outfit, brimming with confidence, took the lead in the 62nd minute when Maximilian Wittek scored a goal of the tournament contender, unleashing a swerving volley from 30-yards out, leaving Patrício and the home fans stunned.
Responding to falling behind, Roma, who had only tasted defeat once in their previous 26 home matches in European competitions before kick-off, made a triple change in the 66th minute. They ultimately logged their first shot on target just minutes later as Bryan Cristante squandered a glorious opportunity, forcing Jeroen Houwen into a fine save from close-range.
Just when it appeared the game was heading into extra-time, Abraham became Roma’s saviour, as he headed in from point-blank range, guiding in Rick Karsdorp ball across the box, sending the home fans into delirium. Roma now advance to the quarter-finals of a UEFA competition for the second season in a row.