Today’s Papers – Milan break, Napoli run away
Watch as Tammy Abraham gives Roma the points on a Henrikh Mkhitaryan assist, while there was VAR drama and an injury for Torino.
The Giallorossi decided to sit back and go on the counter, which worked wonders when Mkhitaryan threaded through for Abraham to turn and strike, aided by a Nicolò Zaniolo run to drag defenders away.
Roma were also awarded a penalty for Alessandro Buongiorno’s mistimed tackle on Stephan El Shaarawy, but after more than five minutes, VAR announced Abraham was offside in the build-up.
There were saves on Abraham and Josip Brekalo, but Andrea Belotti went off with a suspected hamstring strain.
Torino dominated possession and chances, but suffered a fourth consecutive away defeat to Roma. ‘We’ve got to ask ourselves some questions,’ said Ivan Juric.
The Granata are an all-or-nothing team, as they’ve won three on the bounce at home, but their away record is dismal.
“To be honest, when we have a run of results like that, we’ve got to ask ourselves some questions,” the coach told DAZN.
“We had three scoring opportunities and dominated the first half-hour, then Roma scored at their first chance. We did well for long periods, but didn’t have any goals to show for it.
“We held out well against Nicolò Zaniolo and Tammy Abraham on the counter-attack, but the fact is we made too many mistakes upfront, especially with Dennis Praet and Tommaso Pobega opportunities.”
Juric was asked why Torino are so completely different at home and on their travels.
“The situation when I arrived here was dismal. We have found a style of football, but that’s not enough to really grow and progress. I think we’ll get there, gradually. Our objective is to lay the foundations for that future and do better than last season.
“It’s a disappointing result, because the lads are showing a change of mentality and deserved better this evening. We have to analyse why we keep not winning when we play so well.”
To make matters worse for Torino, Belotti was carried off with a suspected hamstring strain.
“I think he got a really bad one. We’ll see tomorrow with the tests, but it’s not looking good.”
Jose Mourinho confirms Lorenzo Pellegrini will be out ‘for a few weeks,’ while the coach insists he enjoys the 1-0 win over Torino ‘more than a 5-0, because it means you had to suffer as a team.’
The Giallorossi scraped a victory at the Stadio Olimpico thanks to the Tammy Abraham strike, but the hosts had only 32 per cent possession on home turf.
They sat back so much that it must’ve been a planned approach to wait and hit Toro on the counter-attack.
“It was a plan to sit a bit deeper, yes. Their centre-backs spread out and it’s not easy to press them with two strikers, so we had to show patience,” Mourinho told DAZN.
“I expected to score a few more goals this evening, even if Torino are strong defensively. I like winning in this way, this victory I enjoy more than a 5-0, because it means you had to make the effort, suffer as a team.
“When you are playing against a team that man-marks, you need mobility, so our players had to keep alternating position. Keep doing that, sooner or later they will make a mistake.
“The important thing is to defend well, then the goals will arrive eventually. I like this type of victory. We dominated and controlled Genoa and Zorya, but this was a different match.”
There was bad news, as Pellegrini limped off with a muscular issue just 15 minutes into the match.
“Unfortunately, Pellegrini will be out for a few weeks.”
Abraham seems to gel really well with his teammate Nicolò Zaniolo and Mourinho explains why.
“It started off the field. There’s a group of young players who always hang around together, plus it’s good for Nicolò to learn English!”
Tammy Abraham said Roma ‘made me feel like family’ and revealed what he was thinking while waiting over five minutes for a VAR decision against Torino.
Abraham scored the only goal of the game, making the most of a Henrikh Mkhitaryan assist to turn into the far bottom corner at the Stadio Olimpico.
He also found the net twice on Thursday in the Europa Conference League win over Zorya.
“Like I said since I got here, I love this club, they made me feel like family. There’s no better feeling than scoring here in front of your fans and winning the game,” Abraham told DAZN.
There was a bizarre moment in the first half when Roma were awarded a penalty for Alessandro Buongiorno’s foul on Stephan El Shaarawy, but after waiting on the spot for over five minutes, Abraham was eventually told that his offside in the build-up ruined the chance.
As time dragged on, the England international started juggling with the ball on the penalty spot.
“When you’re about to take a penalty and it takes so long, it’s about staying focused and not losing your cool. So I started doing a few tricks for the fans to show them I wasn’t nervous.”
Abraham again was spotted singing along to the Roma anthem before kick-off, so was asked if he could say a few words in Italian.
“Give me three months and my next interview will be in Italian!”
Tammy Abraham strikes for Roma! 💥
He’s found in the box by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and coolly finds the far corner 🥶 pic.twitter.com/yfRtI8vi9y
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 28, 2021
Tammy Abraham’s goal against the run of play allowed Roma to take three points, while there was VAR drama around a penalty, but Torino dominated possession and lost Andrea Belotti to injury.
The Giallorossi were still without Bryan Cristante and Gonzalo Villar due to COVID, with Leonardo Spinazzola injured and Matias Vina not at 100 per cent, but also Jordan Veretout suspended. Lorenzo Pellegrini therefore moved to midfield, while Toro missed Cristian Ansaldi, Simone Verdi, Ricardo Rodriguez, Rolando Mandragora and Simone Edera.
Dennis Praet tested Rui Patricio from distance, but Pellegrini limped off with a thigh problem after just 15 minutes.
Praet’s diving header on a Wilfried Singo cross was straight at the goalkeeper, while Tommaso Pobega blasted over from the edge of the box and Torino dominated possession early doors.
Rui Patricio and Tammy Abraham combined to block Alessandro Buongiorno from six yards on a corner.
Despite barely having any possession or chances, Roma broke the deadlock out of nowhere, Abraham gathering Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s through ball and turning quickly to pass it into the far bottom corner with the inside of the right boot from just inside the box.
Moments later, Buongiorno mistimed his tackle and brought down Stephan El Shaarawy in the box for a clear penalty. However, it took over five minutes for VAR to check a potential issue in the build-up, with players waiting on the spot and increasingly frustrated, before news came through that Abraham was offside.
Vanja Milinkovic-Savic’s first save was on the stroke of half-time, fingertipping an Abraham header over from a corner.
Torino resumed dominating possession and taking the initiative, Bremer’s shot charged down in the box and Brekalo tested Rui Patricio from distance.
The goalkeeper rushed off his line to block Praet on a through ball, but Toro saw Belotti pull up mid-run with a suspected hamstring strain and he had to be carried off the pitch.
Nicolò Zaniolo fired over from a tricky angle when sent through by El Shaarawy, but Roma largely held on for all three points despite having 32 per cent of possession on home turf. Vanja Milinkovic-Savic even went up for a late free kick.
Roma 1-0 Torino
Abraham 32 (R)
Andrea Belotti could be out until the New Year, as the Torino striker pulled up with a suspected hamstring strain during the match with Roma.
Il Gallo was running to chase down a loose ball when he suddenly stopped, screaming in pain and clutching the back of his right thigh.
It immediately seemed to be a hamstring strain and he was carried off the pitch by two members of the Granata medical staff.
It’s another setback for Belotti, who will turn 28 next month and is in the middle of a contract dispute with Torino.
He has not yet signed a new deal and his current contract is set to expire at the end of this season.
Belotti has been beset by injury problems this season, including an ankle sprain in September that kept him out of five club games, plus Italy’s World Cup qualifiers.
A hamstring strain of this type usually requires at least a month out of action.
VAR set a new record in Serie A with five minutes and 20 seconds to check Tammy Abraham’s offside in the build-up to a Roma penalty against Torino.
There were no arguments when Alessandro Buongiorno brought down Stephan El Shaarawy with a mistimed tackle in the box at the Stadio Olimpico.
However, as Abraham stepped up to take the penalty, he was left standing there for over five minutes.
The Video Assistant Referee was checking for a potential offside in the build-up and it took an astonishingly long time to come to the conclusion that Abraham’s heel was jutting out from the computer-drawn lines.
During the wait, England international Abraham resorted to juggling with the ball just as a warm-up exercise to keep himself in the game.
Roma coach Jose Mourinho was increasingly frustrated on the touchline, asking what was taking so long.
The ‘clear and obvious error’ issue does not apply to offside rulings, because they are objective, so there is only one correct interpretation.
— Scot Munroe (@scot_munroe) November 28, 2021
Roma bring Lorenzo Pellegrini back into midfield, with Tammy Abraham and Nicolò Zaniolo upfront against Andrea Belotti’s Torino.
It kicks off at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome at 17.00 GMT.
The Giallorossi are stretched thin at the moment between Serie A and the Europa Conference League, as Bryan Cristante and Gonzalo Villar are still self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.
Jordan Veretout is also suspended, with Leonardo Spinazzola injured and Matias Vina not at 100 per cent.
Pellegrini therefore returns and is pushed into a deeper midfield role, with Jose Mourinho still backing the three-man defence.
Torino have won their last three home games and lost three in a row on their travels.
They are without Cristian Ansaldi, Simone Verdi, Ricardo Rodriguez, Rolando Mandragora and Simone Edera.
Belotti leads the attack with support from Dennis Praet and Josip Brekalo.
Roma: Rui Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Pellegrini, Diawara, Mkhitaryan, El Shaarawy; Abraham, Zaniolo
Torino: Milinkovic-Savic; Djidji, Bremer, Buongiorno; Singo, Lukic, Pobega, Vojvoda; Praet, Brekalo; Belotti
Serie A Week 14 continues with five games on Sunday, when Mike Maignan is expected to return for Milan against Sassuolo, while Lazio visit Maurizio Sarri’s former club Napoli.
The top two teams in Serie A are in action on Sunday and must respond to the wins of Inter and Atalanta on Saturday.
Atalanta strengthened their position in the top four, and Roma need a win over Torino today to reduce the gap up to the Orobici.
The big game of the day is at 19.45 UK time tonight, when leaders Napoli host Maurizio Sarri’s new club Lazio at the Stadio Diego Maradona.
Udinese open the day at 11.30 with a home game against Andriy Shevchenko’s Genoa, before Milan take on Sassuolo at San Siro.
Stefano Pioli must cope without Ante Rebic and Oliviver Giroud and leans on Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack.
The match kicks off at 13.00 and French goalkeeper Mike Maignan seems set to return in goal after being out with a wrist injury.
Spezia host Bologna at the same time, when Sinisa Mihajlovic seems set to start with Musa Barrow and Marko Arnautovic together up front.
Roma coach Jose Mourinho could give Nicoló Zaniolo a supporting role behind Stephan El Shaarawy and Tammy Abraham, when Andrea Belotti’s Torino arrive at the Olimpico at 16.00.
Probable line-ups: Udinese vs. Genoa (at 11.30 UK time)
Udinese (4-2-3-1): Silvestri; Molina, Becao, Nuytinck, Samir; Walace, Arslan; Deulofeu, Pereyra, Pussetto; Beto
Genoa (3-5-2): Sirigu; Biraschi, Masiello, Vasquez; Ghiglione, Sturaro, Badelj, Touré, Cambiaso; Ekuban, Pandev
Probable line-ups: Milan vs. Sassuolo (at 14.00)
Milan (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Florenzi, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Bakayoko, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Brahim Diaz, Leao; Ibrahimovic
Sassuolo (4-2-3-1): Consigli; Toljan, Chiriches, Ferrari, Kyriakopoulos; Frattesi, Maxime Lopez, Traore; Berardi, Defrel, Raspadori
Probable line-ups: Spezia vs. Bologna (at 14.00)
Spezia (4-2-3-1): Provedel; Amian, Erlic, Nikolaou, Bastoni; Sala, Kovalenko; Antiste, Maggiore, Strelec; Nzola
Bologna (3-4-1-2): Skorupski; Soumaoro, Medel, Theate; Orsolini, Svanberg, Dominguez, Hickey; Soriano; Barrow, Arnautovic
Probable line-ups: Roma vs. Torino (at 17.00)
Roma (3-4-1-2): Rui Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Mkhitaryan, Pellegrini, Vina; Zaniolo; El Shaarawy, Abraham
Torino (3-4-2-1): Milinkovic-Savic; Djidji, Bremer, Buongiorno; Singo, Lukic, Pobega, Vojvoda; Praet, Brekalo; Belotti
Probable line-ups: Napoli vs. Lazio (at 19.45)
Napoli (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Fabiàn, Demme; Lozano, Zielinski, Insigne; Mertens
Lazio (4-3-3): Reina; Lazzari, Luiz Felipe, Acerbi, Hysaj; Milinkovic-Savic, Cataldi, Luis Alberto; Felipe Anderson, Immobile, Pedro