When AS Roma, currently 19th seed out of 20 teams, beat Inter Milan, 1st seed and Roma rival, with a header in the 90th minute at the Stadio Olimpico the crowd went crazy. Everybody erupted in roars. Flags and scarves were waved and thrown about. Fans hugged anyone they could grasp. The person sitting next to me was so excited and had jumped so high when he saw the goal that he fell over the person in front of him on the seat below. Celebrations went on for several hours afterward as the motorini honked their horns, people partied at nearby bars and groups of fan sang in the streets. It was such an upset, such a dramatic moment and such a perfect ending for the hosting team.
The entire game was full of action which included dozens of shots on goal, many counter attacks and a free kick from fifteen feet out. However, nobody managed to convert a shot and lay the ball into the net until Vucinic powered it in with a header off a great crossing pass. Although a soccer field is large, we had a great overall view from our bleacher seats. Players’ expressions, which are very amusing to watch on tv, were hidden to us seeing how there was no large screen close-ups or replays. There were two immense screens that flanked the field but they only displayed the score, time and substitutions. Soccer refereeing is very subjective to what the referee sees as no replays are allowed, and thus the screens are purely informational. Calls are made on the spot and cannot be argued.
Before going to the game, my friends and I had gotten some AS Roma apparel to further partake in the atmosphere and spirit. We had been told of the great Rome- Inter Milan rivalry and the chaos that can erupt between fans. Last year, despite a bad start, Rome finished second to Inter Milan in the standings. In the stadium, the one little seating area for Inter fans was surrounded by lines of guards on all sides and separated from the rest of the stadium by 15-foot high glass dividers. Despite having security checkpoints at all entrances, in the opening minutes, a Roma fan managed to shoot a flare into the away section. The flare was bright red and created a lot of smoke. Inter fans quickly dispersed from where the flare landed on their seats and shouted at the Roma fans. Sitting opposite the away section, it appeared as a battlefield with cannons being shot at armies of fans. I had wished for more chaos but it ended there for the most part.