The things we do for the love of the game.
After not receiving a press accreditation to the Juventus-Milan game, I decided to buy a ticket to Bologna-Roma. I figured it's only a 30- minute train ride from Florence and it'd be a good time. Perhaps I should havechecked the weather forecast first though.
Arriving in Bologna around 11:30am, Iwalked to the center of the city. After having a great lunch, the rain started. I decided to start walking to the stadium even though it was 3 hours before kickoff. The rain was bearable and I made 2 stops for coffees. Of course I got a little lost and that meant anextra 20 minutes of walking. By the time I arrive at the stadium, a little under 2 hours before kickoff, I'm already soaking wet. I go into the stadium and made my way to my section. Since it was raining and sitting in my seat would be useless, I waited near the concession stand area to stay dry. I whipped out my phone and played some Football Manager for at least 45 minutes. To be honest, I was a bit surprised this game was even played. The pitch was very bad and was at the point were its condition had a negative impact on the match. Both teams attempted to actually play football and pass the ball but it was practically a slugfest in the mud. Anyway let's get to the match.
45 minutes before kickoff, the referee was on the field inspecting the pitch. After a few moments, he decided the pitch was playable. Both sides came out to warm up and you could tell right away the waterlogged field was going to be a major factor. When the teams were lined up before kickoff, the French National Anthem was played in commemoration of the Paris attacks last week.
Bologna started brightly and even found the back of the net in the 10th minute but the goal was disallowed for an offside call. I couldn't tell live but after watching the replay, it was very close, perhaps a fraction offside. The hosts eventually did take the lead just 4 minutes later when Adam Masinapounced on the ball after a sloppy mess following a corner kick. As Bologna took the lead into halftime, I almost knew they would get a result from this match. I spent the whole first half standing in the corridor to try and avoid being totally wet but by halftime I felt the water seeping through my pants and running down my legs. Not the best conditions to play or watch a match.
So the second half begins and the pitch is still a swamp. Bologna find themselves on a break and Giaccherini releases a pass to send Destro on a breakaway. Everyone at the Renato Dall'Ara thinks this is when he gets his revenge against his former club. But no.Destro strikes a slow roller right into Szczesny's hands. And of course that would come back to bite Bologna in the ass. Shortly after Destro's miss, Florenzi sent in a cross and a Bologna defender jumped to block it but had his hand flying in the air. Penalty. Pjanic stepped up and slid the penalty right under Antonio Mirante's body. As they were looking for the go-ahead goal, Roma finally started creating some chances in front of goal. In the 72th minute Rudi Garcia's side would get another penalty. After a flick on from Dzeko, Juan Iturbedribbled into the box and was tripped up by Luca Rossettini. This time it was EdinDzeko to step up to the spot. The Bosnian striker fired into the side netting and Roma took a 2-1 lead with 18 minutes to go. Roberto Donadoni urged his side on as they now looked for an equalizer and it would come in dramatic fashion. Giaccherini was taken down by Torosidis in the box and Bologna were awarded a penalty in the 87th minute. It had to be Mattia Destro to step up. The ex-Roma striker sent Szczesny the wrong way and slotted the ball into the right corner. Destro took off his jersey and celebrated as if that was the most important goal in his career. A great moment and I was happy for him. (Watch my video: https://twitter.com/ladsoffthepitch/status/668182103020974080)
Bologna hung on for a hard-earned point. Roberto Donadoni has picked up 7 points in his first three matches in charge and you can already see this is a different team. They're a bit more organizing and play much better football going forward. Bologna has some good talent in Masina, Diawara, Giaccherini, Mounier and Destro. For me, with Donadoniin charge, they are a lock to avoid relegation.
Roma will definitely be disappointed with dropping points. Gervinho and Salah will both be out for a few weeks so Iago Falqueand Iturbe will need to step up. Torosidis is a liability defensively for them. Roma will travel to Spain on Tuesday to face Barcelona in the Champions League.
All in all, I believe the draw was a fair result. Bologna played well under the circumstances and Roma weren't that impressive. So the match ended a little before 8 and I had a 8:53 train back to Florence. I walked and found a bar to call a taxi but it never showed up. I waited for over an hour and they called four times but nothing. Keep in mind I was absolutely drenched. Being wet and cold is one of the worst feelings in the world. Luckily there was a nice guy at the bar who kindly told methere was a bus to Florence leaving at 11:55pm. I found my way to the bus station and waited for an hour and half before getting on the bus. I didn't get home until 2:30am but these are the things we do for the love of the game.