With Roma's Champions League hopes for next season riding on winning the Europa League, Paulo Fonseca's lineup choices for today's match against Bologna seemed to be made with Thursday's return fixture against Ajax in mind. The headline grabbing move was Bryan Reynolds first career start—making him the youngest American to ever start in Serie A—but Fonseca also gave Federico Fazio and Antonio Mirante rare starts. All told, Fonseca made six changes for today's Round 30 fixture against Bologna.
And, as one would expect given such a unique and seldom-seen lineup, Roma struggled to create or sustain much cohesion or synchronicity for much of the first half, looking tentative and uncertain how to approach the Bologna defense. Fortunately for Roma, Bologna weren't exactly firing on all cylinders in the early phases of this match either, but at least they were trying.
Bologna managed to make a bit of hay early in the match, with Rodrigo Palacio forcing the issue in only the 9th minute, forcing a blocked shot from Roger Ibañez. Bologna would win successive corners on the ensuing play and created the game's first real chance of the match when Mattia Svanberg caught Antonio Mirante out of position only to see his header miss the mark.
It was the first of several glaring misses from Bologna but more troubling than that was the lack of energy from the men in maroon. Without Lorenzo Pellegrini and/or Henrikh Mkhitaryan, there was no real force driving Roma's attack, which resulted in a few haphazard moves from Pedro and Gonzalo Villar, who were trying to take the initiative but more often than not seemed to paint themselves into a corner.