AS Roma and Lecce didn't exactly play the most thrilling brand of football in the first half of their Serie A match, but they at least produced some talking points. Lecce's negative play made entertaining football difficult, but a great goal and some injuries spiced up a game that started out a little dull.
It appeared at first glance that Roma would stay with their 4-4-2 diamond setup, but they actually came out in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Marco Borriello as a lone striker, Mirko Vucinic as the left winger, and David Pizarro and Daniele De Rossi sitting in front of the defense. That defense was supposed to include Juan, but it was announced at the last minute that Nicolas Burdisso would be starting in his place. There were no surprises from Lecce, as they went 4-5-1 with ten men behind the ball from the start.
Roma failed to find their footing early and the first real chance of the game was Lecce's, despite their lack of ambition. A Phillipe Mexes foul created a set piece opportunity for Ruben Olivera, who blasted a 30 yard shot just inches over the crossbar.
Very little happened until around the 20th minute, when the pace of play started to pick up and the game became more open. Roma had two chances shortly afterwards, with Vucinic blasting a shot over the bar in the 22nd minute and Marco Cassetti missing just wide with a low shot off of a great through ball by Borriello. In the 27th minute, Roma had a good chance on the counter attack, but a terrible touch by Rodrigo Taddei in the penalty area killed the move.
In the 30th minute Cassetti appeared to pick up a knock for the second time in the game, forcing a substitution. Juan came on in his place, moving Burdisso to right back. The injury didn't appear to be terribly serious, as Cassetti was able to walk off the pitch under his own power.
Roma would find their breakthrough in the 32nd minute, thanks to some poor closing down and a brilliant individual effort by Vucinic. Receiving the ball in the middle of the pitch, 50 yards from goal, Vucinic took a high ball off his chest and turned his defender before surging forward 30 yards on his own. The Lecce defenders gave him entirely too much space, and he hit a low shot just inside the far post from the right side of the pitch, 20 yards from goal. Roma had the lead they deserved after pushing the pace since the 20th minute and being the more ambitious side for the entire match.
Just one minute later, the Giallorossi dodged a bullet when De Rossi managed to not get sent off for a tackle that looked like a straight red card offense. The Roma enforcer went in with a two footed leg breaker and luckily avoided actually breaking Gustavo's leg, if only by the thinnest of margins. Somehow, De Rossi was only shown a yellow card.
Lecce did some challenging on set pieces at the end of the half, but ultimately failed to challenge Doni's goal. The hosts have shown very little ambition going forward and will likely need to score on a set piece if they're going to get back in this game. For Roma, they're halfway to a valuable and expected three points. It would be very shocking to see them do anything but win, and they should only improve in the second half.