AS Roma 2-2 Bayern Munich: Schüller’s late brace keeps Bayern knockout stage dreams alive

On the winning side in only one of their four matches in this season’s competition, and subsequently sitting bottom of Group C, Roma manager Alessandro Spugna named an attacking eleven with joint-top goalscorers Manuela Giugliano and Valentina Giacinti beginning the contest from the get-go.

ASR: Ceasar; Di Guglielmo, Linari, Minami, Bartoli; Feiersinger, Kumagai, Giugliano; Haavi, Viens, Giacinti

BAY: Grohs; Gwinn, Viggósdóttir, Hansen, Naschenweng; Zadrazil, Stanway; Dallmann, Harder, Bühl; Schüller

Having played out a highly-entertaining 2-2 draw in their first match of the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Champions League group stage – after Roma had salvaged a late point courtesy of a Manuela Giugliano’s 90th-minute equaliser – the hosts, on this occasion, dominated the attacking endeavours.

Despite this, it looked like the visitors were going to take the lead shortly after the quarter-hour via Lea Schüller. However, the striker could only fire Giulia Gwinn’s delicious delivery into the danger zone wide of the mark when it appeared like a routine task for the prolific goalscorer to have hit the back of the net.

Despite Le Giallorosse’s determined pursuit to break the deadlock, it was again Bayern who should have been celebrating, but Pernille Harder saw her volley brilliantly kept out by the acrobatics of Camelia Ceasar before Linda Dallmann fired the rebound over the crossbar.

An enthralling opening 33 minutes in front of goal would eventually culminate in the game’s opening goal, and in turn, hand Roma a slender half-time lead, as Tuva Hansen’s mistimed pass from defence granted Valentina Giacinti the subsequent celebration after firing home an exquisite strike into the top corner past Maria Luisa Grohs.

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To stand any chance of making an appearance in the quarter-finals, like in last season’s competition, Bayern had to take every goalscoring opportunity. Nonetheless, this required course of action would fail to come to fruition almost immediately following the restart as Schüller headed wide Klara Bühl’s cross from close range. At the opposite end of the pitch, Roma were dealt a blow as goalscorer Giacinti was forced off due to injury.

With it looking like Bayern would need a favour from Paris Saint-Germain Féminine later in the evening against AFC Ajax, Schüller would have other ideas on her mind as the German international headed home Harder’s cross with three minutes left of regular time.

Unbelievably, after a large period of inactivity in terms of goalscoring changes for either side in the second half, the game had everyone on the edge of their seats in stoppage time. Initially, it appeared that Roma had stolen a precious three points in the third minute of seven added on after another late goal from Giugliano.

However, Schüller would again come to the rescue of the defending Frauen-Bundesliga champions, as she got the deafest touches to Gwinn’s free-kick in the 96th-minute to cue ecstatic celebrations within the Bayern camp.

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Late drama in the Italian capital leaves Group C wide open ahead of PSG’s match against Ajax later this evening – with a victory for the Dutch side leaving only one position available for three sides to fight it out for the prize of taking their place in the knockout stages.