This game took place in the Champions League group phase of the 2010/2011 season on the evening of November 3, 2010. The game was selected by the author as a live game from the Sky offer for 90-minute, i.e. complete, observation, including commentary. There were a few good reasons for this:
If there is a following at all, then it is author-wise for AS Roma. This will not be explained in more detail here, but she would never go so far as to make an effort to be objective, as one can later testify to on the basis of the report. The first leg was also watched in full, the one with Italian commentary — a language that the author is reasonably fluent in — which already provides another reason for this option: capturing versatile, multilingual commentary. The game selected here was followed with Swiss commentary, since the organizer is responsible for language support. Another aspect: the Swiss presented at least a few familiar faces from the Bundesliga, whose careers are worth following.
In any case, this game had a particularly explosive nature, as FC Basel had kidnapped the three points from the Italian capital two weeks ago with a 3-1 win. As strong as FC Basel were in that game, Roma dominated, coming from an early deficit to equalize 1-1 two weeks ago, after which one could speak of a clear takeover of command. Soon after, she caught a counterattack to make it 1:2, pushed hard for the equalizer in the second half and was finally dealt with by another perfectly executed counterattack shortly before the end. In addition, the Roma had lost 2-0 in the Euro-League in Basel in the pre-season, so they had plenty of motivation to straighten out the situation in their favor. Of course, apart from the “adjustment”, it is also very specifically about spending the winter in the premier class or at least the Euro-League, which was not remotely guaranteed for either team, either before or after the game.
In this respect, it was to be a highly passionate game, as one could tell from the icy facial expression with which the Italian Francesco Totti greeted his opponent when the captains greeted them. Well, Champions League is Champions League and actually means the greatest for everyone who can be there. This also affected the spectators, who are always capable of special celebrations in Basel anyway, especially since they still appreciate every point they get. They are grateful for their team’s dedication and always ready to applaud a successful scene, even if it doesn’t directly lead to a goal. From the expectations that can be observed so much in this country, which declare everything other than German victories to be “embarrassing performances” or even “catastrophic results”, and which spread such an unpleasant atmosphere – especially on the part of the media – and which often have a paralyzing effect, nothing can be felt there. Pure joy and enthusiasm, which neither should nor should be stopped, not even by the commentators. The kickers appreciate this and are willing to give everything for the country, club and fans. Football will be played today. Let’s see what jumps out for us.
The game had such a fast pace and so many excellent, well-executed actions that the often-suggested experiment could be used, in which faces and jerseys are blurred, and then a few experts “guess” which teams It could be: It is quite possible that one or the other would confuse FC Basel with FC Barcelona or Manchester United. The skilful ball relays over many stations, incredibly variable attacking play, which provided unbelievable and permanent goal danger with umpteen crosses into the penalty area, almost all of which were hit precisely, were impressive. In general, the offensive spirit, which expressed the permanent belief in scoring, was impressive on the Basel side.
On the other hand, Roma had the first moment when their most conspicuous player, Frenchman Jeremy Menez, pushed through in the penalty area, was pushed far to the baseline, but from a tight angle almost put a hard shot on target at the goalkeeper, who was expecting a return leg surprised, but the ball went just over the crossbar.
From the very beginning, the Swiss speaker was at work with a pleasant objectivity, joy of expectation and sympathy. He pulled you into the action in a very likeable way, which could surprise anyone who is used to (purely) German-language commentary – if it was the first time. No instructions, no tension deadened by idiotic error chain analyses, no expectations in the sense of “now you have to do a little bit more forward”, no pure commentary that would like to explain the entire football to the viewer based on an interim result, no generalizations during ongoing Play moves or similar nonsense, which we are constantly being bombarded with here in Germany and which can spoil the fun so wonderfully, but completely. A blessing for such a battered Germany football listener’s soul. He was always ready to correct the minor mistakes the speaker made, even symbolically slapping himself on the forehead when he once declared flanks for the wrong concept, but then simply retracted this a short time later: “Forget what I said: flanks ARE the right concept.” In this country unthinkable.
So FC Basel put a lot of pressure on them, the “effort made” mentioned is actually too boring as a phrase. They ran in ever new attack waves and always found a pass station, since all men were constantly on the move. The well-known strikers in this country, who are far from past their zenith – i.e. did not want to gradually retire in the Swiss league but continue to play at the highest level – Alex Frei and Marco Streller – brought the Italian defense also thanks to their Header strength, repeatedly embarrassed.
Of course, Roma had occasional counterattacks. In these situations, they could show their class when they quickly bridged the midfield – sometimes with skillful dribbling, whereby it is often enough to leave a single opponent standing – and the agile attackers Menez and Vucinic got into position and were switched on.
Despite the clear superiority of the home team, who would actually begrudge them gradually converting one of the actions, Roma got ahead of them with one of these rare attacks. Vucinic played brilliantly freely, wanted the ball into the penalty area, was slightly hampered, maybe just before the edge of the penalty area, the Swiss may have expected a whistle for a split second because Vucinic fell, Menez took advantage of this moment to be the first to reach the ball almost exactly 15 meters away from the goal – and to circle it well thought out and with the highest technical class and precision into the bottom right corner of the goal and thus overcome the desperately diving goalkeeper. The 0:1, which did not detract from the atmosphere in the ranks. The spectators saw a great game and a great team. Every now and then you concede a goal. So what? Respect for the class of the opponent, which the commentator also showed despite the disappointment and sympathy that was clearly evident. That’s how football works. It’s fun that way, even if there isn’t always a fair reward or the desired outcome.
Just compare this with the comments you would hear here, which weigh as heavily on your ears as the boulders once weighed on a wolf’s stomach:
“They all slept there.” or “Invited the Roma to score goals” or “a catastrophic positional mistake preceded it” or “a stupid loss of the ball in the forward movement” and certainly “the goalkeeper is partly to blame”, error analyzes that say so much contained truth as Wolfen’s paws were white and his voice was high…
Basel kept running, but the complete opposite of headless. The Roma could rarely free themselves. It was a real power play, what FC Basel raised about the constantly roaming — and thereby creating space — outside positions. The class and – you can call it that at this point – the composure of the Italians was shown in a renewed, lightning-fast counterattack, which was extremely dangerous due to the many determined followers. When the left full-back John-Arne Riise, who was so offensive in other games, suddenly appeared in a central attacking position on the edge of the penalty area during one of his very rare advances in this game, played well free and defended the ball with brilliant technique, his opponent didn’t know any different to help – and fouled. Of course, as a skilled defender usually does, before penetrating the penalty zone. Riise, however, has learned so much from England and Serie A over many years that he did not react to the foul by falling, but instead skilfully continued his stumbling run into the penalty area with a vigorous step towards the ball, which was beautifully ready for the goal 14 meters away him was. The defender now pulled the last option, having already gone down for a foul, and for a split second grabbed Riise’s leading leg. Even after that, the right falling skills are required, because you don’t just get a penalty these days “for free”. Here, however, the attacker’s trained behavior and situation was too clear, the referee had no choice but to interrupt the game and point to the point.
Captain Totti converted the penalty himself, but the goalkeeper guessed the corner and reached the rather unplaced ball, so that from a Swiss point of view one can almost speak of bad luck that he still passed the goal line.
As unfair as this interim result was – as the commentator only professionally and emotionally recognized with the comment “a rather meager reward for the great performance” – FC Basel did not allow themselves to be dissuaded from the impeccable playful presentation and was also in the audience no fading of enthusiasm and cheering to be seen. The Roma also felt that not all masses had been read here by a long shot. It was probably mainly for this reason that it soon began with extremely unsympathetic tactical games of the type “How can I give myself and the other players a little break and get a few seconds off the clock?”, which the Italians generally like to attribute to of the beloved Roma has rarely been observed until now. It’s called a time game.
Basel’s pressure was overwhelming. The score made such ugly Roman behavior promising. In particular, captain Totti, “Signore Roma” and the author responsible for the following, received whistles from the attentive audience every time he touched the ball, who duly acknowledged this time-stealing behavior and identified him as the originator – with some justification.
Totti was almost exclusively a stand-up footballer in this game. He bribed with a single perfect pass, which let his world class flash when he guessed the starting Menez from his own half with his back to the opposing goal and the ball with an artistic movement – because against his own running direction – perfectly timed in played the run and thus ushered in another good chance. Otherwise, one could only interpret his behavior with some benevolence in such a way that he wanted to calm down his teammates and take out the hustle and bustle as much as possible. However, it would also have helped if he had moved from time to time, especially backwards. You could also see him kicking penalties better.
At FC Basel, the perfect coordination was noticeable. Again and again Inkoom was playable on the right wing in the half field and from there he started the game with lightning-fast, precise plays. The players Shaqiri and Yapi also stood out from a first-class team, who repeatedly caused a goal threat from midfield by constantly changing positions, but also by making individual advances to the top. The rest of the team also clearly demonstrated Champions League format throughout.
Back to the course of the game: The game went into the dressing room with a score of 0:2. It was an unfair result, as one could say without a shadow of a doubt. The Swiss felt that they could score at any time, they believed in it and they were constantly close. Even at 0:2 the game was far from decided, as indicated by the behavior of Roma.
Surprisingly, Basel increased the pressure after the break. There was almost no relief and flank after flank was hit into the penalty area, all well prepared and also supported in the middle with plenty of customers. It was always just that little bit missing.
But just as the commentator, out of pure disappointment and sympathy, had uttered the only critical comment about the means with the flanks, came the one that led to the goal. Well, after so many attempts with narrow misses, it’s okay to be a little lucky in this scene. Because Nicola Burdisso, the Argentinian central defender of Roma, touched another dangerous cross from Stocker, who was also conspicuous, with his head, so that the goalkeeper Julio Sergio, who was sailing into the ball behind him, missed it and the attacker Alexander Frei, who was standing by, was able to nod the ball. When the announcer initially blamed the goalkeeper for a mistake after this action, but this turned out to be a mistake in the later recording, he corrected without shame. “No, it’s not the goalkeeper’s fault.”
Unthinkable in this country. It would just be dispassionately saying “flies past the ball” and “if he goes he must have it” and “he doesn’t look good there” (which always prompts the follow-up question: how would a goalkeeper look good conceding a goal?) .
This connecting goal came so early that you could imagine anything in this game, even a complete turnaround. Exposed to this extreme pressure, the Italians were increasingly rolling on the ground whenever the opportunity arose, in order to then be treated extensively. Logically, audiences grew angry at the wannabe stars who were playfully outshined by their own team. The referee was clearly not on the side of the Swiss series winner, as he often interpreted other small actions to their disadvantage. There were still three critical penalty situations, all of which he rejected, which in total at least amounts to a perceived injustice, especially since he imposed the (legitimate) one on the other side without hesitation.
When the best Roman, attacking player Menez, left the field after 75 minutes for Greco, who was actually more defensively oriented, what was probably least expected from this change happened: Greco picked up a free ball after a similarly ticklish action as before the penalty kick and also comparable to the first goal – and put it just as precisely at the back right post into the top corner as Menez before, with what was essentially his first touch of the ball. The 3:1 for the Roma.
However, Basel still saw no reason to admit defeat. They continued to develop their game skilfully, certainly also felt that the Roma were weakening in terms of strength and continued to carry out attack after attack, not even angry but skillfully. The connecting goal in the 83rd minute was such a logical consequence that even after that there was still reason not only to have a lot of faith in Basel, but actually to wish for it for reasons of justice.
The Italians reinforced the tactics they had adopted and were soon on the ground after every completely harmless action, which, as a supporter, just had to be embarrassing and an indictment of football and its rules. Isn’t there a way to stop this obvious wasting of time? Nicola Burdisso injured himself after a rude boarding of a Swiss. But it is understandable that the Swiss, who actually would have liked to continue playing football, at some point boiled over the Roman time-wasting tactics, and such an action had to take place. One can only speculate further afterwards. Because Burdisso resumed the game several times, only to go down again after each new attempt and take more seconds off the clock from there, and only finally “give up” after the third and let himself be carried down, after which his brother took him down Guillermo replaced.
That Totti of all people, who neither saw a spot on his white jersey nor discovered a single bead of sweat on his forehead, did it theatrically with a repeatedly ridiculous way of “claiming the ball” on the outside line after a tiny touch by a Swiss player, since it was only aimed at gaining time went to the ground, and thereby convinced the referee that the Swiss player committed a serious offense, which was punished with yellow-red, is another small proof of the injustice of the game and especially of this outcome. However, it should be noted here that the first leg result was not much fairer. Whether, according to an old football saying, “everything balances out in the end” should be left open. Why should it…? One is lucky, one unlucky, can also be like that over longer periods of time. Compensation? Maybe someday…
In any case, the referee kept his “Roman support” – which can only be hinted at in quotation marks and thus behind closed doors – until the final whistle by only allowing three minutes of added time. Certainly the fans, who gave him a few “pushers” calls during the game, are classified as biased because they are biased, but, as already mentioned, they are quite sensitive and it leaves a rather bland aftertaste. The three minutes, also pre-estimated by the announcer, was on the very low end, as it is a standard that just wasn’t appropriate for this game, precisely because it rewarded Roma’s behavior rather than punishing it (Treating it neutrally would be the minimum; and for that alone four minutes would be a minimum; if it was a punishment for the behavior being improper it should/should have been far more).
Nevertheless, the entire game was at the highest Champions League level in terms of excitement and drama from the first to the last second. You could never really look away. Action after action, attack after attack, passionate fans, great stadium atmosphere. even if they became hostile at a certain point, but for understandable reasons of fans generally considered sensitive, an emotional, anticipatory, professional reporter who did not put himself in the foreground, five goals, even if slightly unfairly distributed, football fan heart, what more do you want
A great game. More of that. And please, more comments of a Swiss, English, Italian, French — oh, it would actually be enough if they were no longer German — style…