Dissecting a Goal

I find myself having nothing, nothing, nothing, to write about the rest of the game. Roma won. It was uneventful and unimportant. (Good on Cerci, though.) So instead, the dissecting of Roma's third goal, as much as an eight second sequence of events bears it.

The first thing we should note, in fairness, is the extremely unfortunate decision by the CSKA player to start dribbling at that stage. I get that he's not about to be signed by a big club after New Year's, but I think there's real grounds to question him as a footballer in a European competition upon witnessing the mental process behind the decision to dribble, and the horrific technique in attempting to execute said dribble. That's the premise of the goal, if you will.

But as unfortunate as it was, it would have mattered little had it not been for Scardina and Perrotta bearing down on him, like hungry dogs swooping on freshly dropped piece of meat. Scardina, I kind of get. Going by the interview done with him before leaving Rome, just getting called up to travel with the team was just about the most fun he'd ever had, so it stands to reason that he should run everywhere and exhaust himself during the ten minutes he was given. Perrotta running like that must be filed under extreme work ethic, and absolutely tireless physique. It's not normal to run like that in the 89th minute of a meaningless game in Eastern Europe, even if it is ideal. In any case, Perrotta is the one who recovers the ball from the unfortunate Bulgarian, but I want to credit Scardina at least as much. If he hadn't ran in front of him, making that a no-go zone, Perrotta would be helpless; rather it was their combined effort that recovered the ball.

Perrotta then has many options as what to do, the Bulgarian defender having been so very unfortunate that there wasn't any of his team mates besides the goalkeeper to help out. Perrotta could have finished it himself; he'd have every right to. It'd have been good shot selection, just aim for the far post and it'd almost assuredly be a goal, even by the less than lofty standards of Perrotta's finishing skills. He also could have taken on the goalkeeper, and dribbled him on the latter's right side. Again, it has a very high chance of succeeding. But he passes it into the center instead, for Scardina to finish. I get the sense that that's something he wanted to do, and something he'd try to have done regardless of it being an easy option or not. He wanted the 17 year old to have it.

Now, much has been said and written already about how easy it actually was for Scardina to score once he got the ball. But before I touch on that, we should note that he was in a position to score because he put himself there. It can be expected of a good footballer to make that extra run, but just as with Simone's work ethic; it's ideal but not always done. As for the actual goal, I contend that it's not as easy to score that as some would say. I'm not even going to touch on the psychological pressure, because surely that'd sound like nothing but truisms. But the pass from Perrotta? Notice the horrific bounce the ball takes just as Scardina's about to kick it - it wouldn't be something to put in Scardina's highlight reel, but I've seen much bigger and better players than he miskick the ball on similar devious bounces. In Perrotta's defense, the pass looks good up until that point so this might not necessarily be an opportune time to make jokes about the general cement-like command Simone is able to wield over the ball; this one's about the pitch.

Finally I note that on the far post, behind Scardina, was Pettinari ready to pounce as well. Just in case. And Ranieri smiles.