On Sunday afternoon (5:00PM UK), on the heels of a pair of brutal defeats to AC Milan and Juventus, Roma welcome to the Eternal City suddenly-in-form Cagliari, who’ll be looking to crawl out of the relegation places. Jose Mourinho’s side went into winter break in sole possession of sixth place in the Serie A table, on 32 points, within two points of Juventus in fifth, and five behind Atalanta in fourth. Two games hence, they have those same 32 points and sit seventh in the table, level on points with eighth-place Lazio and only a point ahead of Torino in ninth.
Losing their first two matches after returning to action in January would always have been incredibly frustrating. The manner in which Roma have done it, however, is downright infuriating. In their first game back, away to Milan on January 6, Roma conceded twice in the first 17 minutes and racked up four first half yellow cards. It’s worth noting, though, that they did pull a goal back just before halftime. In the 74th minute, one of those first half yellows – Rick Kardsdorp’s – turned red. Eight minutes later, Roma conceded a third that killed off the game, though it’s worth mentioning that Gianluca Mancini racked up a pair of yellows of his own in the final minutes, the second of which awarded Milan a victory cigar penalty that Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed.
Three days later, at home against Juventus, Roma jumped ahead after eleven minutes, but allowed Juve to equalize seven minutes later. Roma then scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second half and looked to be in control of the game, until an absolutely hideous stretch beginning in the 70th minute, in which they conceded three times in seven minutes, and then failed to convert an 83rd minute penalty that would have drawn them level. In the end, visiting Juve emerged 3-4 winners.