Manuela Giuliano and Valentina Giacinti rip apart Ajax in Rome as Roma go top #1926

A.S Roma 3 Ajax 0FT

Eliot Ben-Ner
10 min readNov 25, 2023

Roma’s unbeaten run hit 12 on the weekend in their 2–0 victory over Sassuolo. They remain perfect in that league action as they continue to put up a strong title defense. Now ready to show it on a European stage. Last season’s quarterfinalists welcomed Dutch side Ajax to the capital. The Amsterdam based club pulled off the upset against PSG during match day One. They currently lead the group. Roma erased a two goal deficit against Bayern Munich in Munich with a 90th minute equalizer from Manuela Giuliano as they made a strong statement. As we all know, it is an incredibly tough group. Roma looked to build on their promising start to their season against Ajax in Rome on a Thursday night.

Spugna’s side setting up out of the 433 formation as usual. In goal would be Romanian keeper Camellia Caesar. At left back would be Lucia Di Guglielmo beside her would be the center back partnership of Minami and Elena Linari then at right back would be Elizabetha Bartoli. Sliding in in Central midfield would be five time Champions League winner Saki Kumagai. To her left would be former Frankfurt captain Laura Feiersinger. Then on the right side would be One of the best playmakers in Europe. Manuela Giuliano then as always Roma would have the three-headed monster in attack. On the left side, one of the most potent strikers this season. Roma’s Canadian Evelyn Viens on the right wing would be the Norwegian ice princess Emile Haavi then up front leading the line would be the Italian goal poacher Valentina Giacinti.

Roma got themselves in position immediately. As Roma won themselves a very early corner. In the fourth minute, Manuela Giuliano delivers the ball into the box Saki Kumagai leads with her head trying to get a touch on the ball as it was heading towards the far post Regina Van Eijk swatts it away into the space of the very dangerous Valentina Giacinti the Italian picks it out of the air in a swinging volley from fairly close range going through the net as Roma take a 1-0 lead inside of 5 minutes.

It would be her fifth goal of the season her goal drought is over as it has been building frustration for her. Young Dutch goalkeeper Regina Van Eijk making a critical error probably should have punched it she has to do better than that. In the 7th minute Roma wins another corner. Manuela Giuliano once again on the delivery this time finding the head of Saki Kumagai she gets a good touch on it, but glides wide. In the 10th minute it was yet again another Roma corner. Ajax was having serious trouble very early on already. Manuela Giuliano sends it in this time we see Ajax clear it with a header however it lands in the space of Haavi She takes a big strike from distance that ended up clipping the foot of Valentina Giacinti before flying over, thanks to the deflection. Ajax truly failing to capitalize against Roma. In the 12th minute Ajax Finally got themselves going Sherida Spitse sends a deep cross from her own box that nearly lands past the halfway line. Chasity Grant picks it up as she charges down the right wing with the ball. The 22-year-old takes it all the way down before cutting inside near the line She dumps it towards Romee Leuchter who was making a run from down the middle. She ends up getting her foot on the end of it but it deflects out for corner. The ball was dropped near the post for Romee Leuchter as she connects on an acrobatic header only for Camellia Caesar to display quick reflexes making the save. A brilliant exchange by the Dutch side. However, despite a moment of clarity for Ajax their situation was about to worsen. In the 14th minute Bartoli has a throw-in near the left side. Manuela Giuliano strikes it out of the air as the ball travels near the touch line, Valentina Giacinti tries to chase it down before being called a goal kick. Evelyn Viens showed her dazzling football IQ. She saw slight hesitation on the goal kick and took advantage immediately. Isa Kardinaal received a short pass from the goalkeeper. Evelyn Viens then pressed her She then supplied a pass back to the goalkeeper Regina Van Eijk was taken by surprise displaying bad footing for the ball to then slide past her into the feet of Valentina Giacinti as she follows through sending it into the back of the net. Valentina at the double as she scores her six goal of the season. Another costly mistake by the young goalkeeper as Roma Eat it up. Already holding a two goal lead inside of 15 minutes. Ajax would need to play remarkably well to pin it back. In the 17th minute we saw Ajax try to get something going only to see it nearly backfire again. Ajax move the ball pressing Roma. However, an ill advised pass was picked off by Haavi the Norwegian drives the ball from her own area on the counter attack. She goes down the left wing with vengeance as she gets to her spot she takes a dribble that separates a bit before firing a strike that was deflected. Ajax under pressure again by another mistake. In the 34th minute another poor pass from Ajax nearly lead to another great opportunity. A deep pass from the Ajax box as was intercepted by Evelyn Viens as all of a sudden Roma got on the counter attack again. Evelyn Viens tries to get things going to her left outside the box as she supplies a pass towards Valentina Giacinti she extends her leg but only gets a slight touch on the ball Bartoli loses it then regains possession as she sends it to Laura Feiersinger before the Austrian gets it to Saki Kumagai who then supplies the through ball to Manuela Giuliano who is eventually denied by the keeper. 7 minutes later in the 40th minute Evelyn Viens makes a run near the touch line on the brake as she finds Manuela Giuliano right in front of goal, but a fortunate deflection from the Dutch sees Roma fail to extend their lead even further. After the opening 45 minutes. Roma in complete control with a brace from Valentina Giacinti.

It was rather a rough go of it for Ajax in that first half they were sloppy all over the place. Mistakes made on both of Roma’s opening goals. Their passing accuracy has been a disaster and have been under complete pressure the entire time. They were fantastic against PSG but for whatever reason that’s gone out the window against the Italians. It certainly didn’t take very long for Roma to add even more fuel to the fire. In the 47th minute, mutually the first sign of action in the first half. Bartoli send a deep cross into Haavi as she looks for Valentina Giacinti as the Norwegian sends a cross from the wing Valentina supplies a slight touch to Giuliano who then returns the ball to Valentina. On the other side, Manuela Giuliano makes a run while also on the left was a wide open unmarked Evelyn Viens. The ball goes back to Haavi sending a cross into space before Manuela Giuliano hit out of the air, swinging her leg away from her body into the top corner. The sweetest of hits. A strike Edin Dzeko would be proud of. As Roma take a 3–0 lead.

Roma’s number 10 is on fire at the moment. There’s no slowing her down right now that was her sixth goal of the season and her 10th goal contribution thus far. She bursts into the Dybala mask down the sideline. She’s been paying tribute to Roma’s number 21 on embracing him as she has a very similar role in this side. Roma looked unfazed and unthreatened by last year’s Dutch champions they were having so many issues and it was only getting worse as things progressed. Roma seemed disinterested in taking the foot off the pedal. In the 59th minute Bartoli once again sends a deep cross towards Haavi on the wing as she was falling out of bounds, she crosses it to Valentina Giacinti Ajax temporarily take possession before Roma regained it it was back with Haavi again supplying a pass to Manuela Giuliano She takes a dribble takes another one before hitting a powerful strike but left something to be desired as it was a little high. Roma had the points all wrapped up and continued to push for it. However, we did see some late surge from Ajax. In the 66th minute Danique Maria Noordman starts an attack down the left. She put a little too much on her touch as it falls into The defense and then was played back to Caesar. Caesar then passes out the back to Laura Feiersinger She took a poor touch gifting the ball back to Ajax Danique Maria Noordman with the ball again than finds Lotte Jasmijn Keukelaar as the 18-year-old retrieves the ball in dangerous space as she strikes she hits the bar. 10 minutes later in the 76th minute Danique Maria Noordman looks from distance but didn’t have the touch she would have liked as it doesn’t threaten Camellia Caesar. Then fast forward to the 92nd minute Nadine Noordam looks for a late goal. She winds up from deep outside the box has the power on it but just not the accuracy as her attempt smacks against the advertisement board. The full-time whistle goes with Roma handling Ajax. No problem as they jump to the top of the group with PSG next. Valentina’s double and Giuliano scores again as Roma continue to cut through the opposition this season.

Roma Make another big statement as they are thriving in the group of death to add more fuel to what has turned into an indestructible season. As perfection continues to be associated with Roma. 13 matches unbeaten in all competitions. After winning the title last season as well as making quarter finals. Roma loaded up as they were expected to load up primarily to make themselves a bigger threat both in Europe and domestically. As it turns out, it looks like Roma is a level above everyone else certainly in Italy. Already 52 goals this season and the season is still fairly young. However, to be sitting at four Points after the first two games in this group is tremendous. Last season they proved themselves as a elite team. Based on how dominant they have been while also being able to thrive against tough opposition. They are the strong argument that they are in the top five. While there’s still a ways behind Barcelona and Olympic Lyon they’re only going to continue to creep up into that conversation in the coming years. The team doesn’t have any significant weaknesses and even against tough opposition like Juventus last time against Bayern Munich and now Ajax shows They are even more formidable. Manuela Giuliano continues to be the star of the show. With an outstanding performance yet again. Roma’s number 10 is in the form of her life and has razodazzled on another European night. She has scored for assisted in her last five games. Scored another one Thursday night against Ajax and she has been the big difference maker at least one of them for this incredibly deep Roma side. Evelyn Viens failed to score yet again but coupled it with an encouraging performance her pressing was fantastic caused the mistake from Ajax to put them in a two goal hole very early on. However, Thursday evening was about Valentina. She was Roma’s top scorer last season with 20 goals. On top of that, she has been one of the biggest threats in front of goal in Italian football over the last decade. However, she hadn’t found the back of the net in sometime. It was weighing on her as she continued to get frustrated. Valentina is a confidence player. She needs to find the back of the net somewhat regularly or else at times she can get discouraged. Thursday night was her night. She scores an unbelievable volley and put home a mistake made by Ajax getting her a brace on the night as the confidence certainly looks like it has been restored. Defensively they were sharp. Caesar and gold came up with a big saves when she needed to. Roma didn’t find things to difficult. However, the Dutch side made things far too easy. The mistakes dug themselves in this hole and they did not adapt well to the Italians. The passing in particular was horrible as Roma would lose the ball and regain possession almost instantly. They were strong team but Thursday night wasn’t their night. Bayern Munich and Roma sit at the top of the group with four points each. Next time we will see Roma travel to Paris to take on PSG. They will take on Fiorentina on the weekend in hopes to keep their winning run intact. Valentina scores the double and Roma glide to points at home against Ajax as Roma’s historic start only adds more weight.