Fonseca and Roma will ‘discuss’ subs error

Roma coach Paulo Fonseca admits they will ‘discuss that internally’ after making too many substitutions, but insists they ‘did enough to win’ against Spezia.

The Giallorossi crashed out of the Coppa Italia Round of 16, 2-2 after 90 minutes, 4-2 at the end of extra time.

Incredibly, they would’ve lost by default anyway, as the team made six substitutions rather than the five that were allowed.

“If there is a problem, we have time to discuss that internally. There is a problem,” the coach told RAI Sport.

This is not even the first time this season that the Lupi have fundamentally misunderstood the rules of the game, as they were also given a 3-0 defeat to Hellas Verona for fielding Amadou Diawara as an ineligible player.

Roma were 2-0 down within 15 mins due to an Andrij Galabinov penalty and Riccardo Saponara curler, seemingly a hangover from their 3-0 defeat to Lazio on Friday.

“We had a difficult start to the game with the penalty, which was a difficult situation to understand. After that, we created many chances, missed many goals, and then with two players down, it was difficult.

“This is a tough moment, we wanted to go further in the Coppa Italia, but I cannot complain about the attitude of these lads. We have to prepare the next match.”

They could easily have avoided going into extra time, as Borja Mayoral missed at least two open goals.

“When we moved to two strikers against Lazio, the team didn’t work as well. We created plenty of scoring opportunities tonight, so I don’t think it was a tactical issue.

“We want to keep possession, but the goals we conceded were not because we build from the back.”

Fonseca was asked why Bryan Cristante continues to be used as a centre-back when his team is leaking goals.

“Over 90 minutes, with 11 men against 11, Spezia didn’t create much at all. It’s important to have a player with Bryan’s quality to start moves from the back and he did very well this evening.

“We lost to Atalanta, Napoli and Lazio because after conceding a goal, we didn’t have the mental strength to turn it around. However, tonight I saw the right reaction to going 2-0 down, we got it back to 2-2 and had chances to win it before extra time.

“I think what we created over the 90 minutes should’ve been sufficient to win the game.”

Following the heavy defeat to Lazio in the Derby della Capitale and this Coppa Italia exit, is Fonseca under pressure?

“I’ve been up for debate since the first day I arrived. We are in the position we want in Serie A, I trust the team and every week I don’t win, I get asked these questions. I just have to keep doing my work.”


Roma made too many substitutions

Roma would’ve lost tonight’s Coppa Italia Round of 16 tie with Spezia by default, as they made six substitutions when only five were allowed.

The extraordinary incident happened in extra time, when the result was still 2-2.

Spezia went on to win 4-2 in extra time and booked their place in the quarter-final against Napoli.

However, Roma would’ve lost by default anyway because incredibly they made six substitutions.

Although FIFA do allow an extra substitution in extra time for competitions where it is planned, this was not the case for the Coppa Italia.

It seems they misunderstood the regulations in the Coppa Italia, which state teams have an extra ‘slot’ to make substitutions in extra time, but not a sixth substitution.

The substitutions were made after Roma received two red cards in 30 seconds for unrelated incidents, as Gianluca Mancini received a second yellow card and Pau Lopez wiped out Roberto Piccoli outside the box.

It’s the second astonishing error at Roma this season, as they were already handed an automatic 3-0 Serie A defeat to Verona after leaving Amadou Diawara on the Under-23 list several months after his 23rd birthday.

Roma 2-4 Spezia (aet)

Galabinov pen 6 (S), Saponara 15, 119 (S), Pellegrini pen 42 (R), Mkhitaryan 73 (R), Verde 107 (S)

Roma: Pau Lopez; Mancini, Cristante (Fuzato 95), Kumbulla; Peres, Pellegrini, Villar (Veretout 69), Spinazzola (Karsdorp 69); Pedro (Ibanez 95), Mkhitaryan (Carles Perez 85); Borja Mayoral (Dzeko 91)

Spezia: Krapikas; Vignali, Erlic, Ismajli, Ramos (Dell’Orco 68); Deiola (Acampora 80), Leo Sena (Ricci 68), Maggiore; Agudelo (Verde 59), Galabinov (Piccoli 68), Saponara

Ref: Ghersini

Sent off: Mancini 93 (R), Pau Lopez 94 (R)


Saponara hails Spezia ‘achievement’

Riccardo Saponara hails the Spezia ‘achievement’ of knocking Roma out of the Coppa Italia with a 4-2 win in extra time, including his brace.

This was the creative midfielder’s first start for the club and he marked it with two goals, including an outrageous chip in extra time.

“It’s an achievement, because we came here to play with our identity. We showed courage from the start, scored two early goals, proving that Spezia play football against anyone,” Saponara told RAI Sport.

“We suffered a little in the second half, as Roma are a strong team, but we continued to play our football. They have the quality to find passing channels and create chances out of nothing.

“We were prepared to take it all the way to penalties, but the incidents went our way and we managed to get it locked down before then.”

The incidents were Gianluca Mancini and Pau Lopez getting themselves sent off in extra time, with two red cards in the space of 30 seconds.

Spezia will face Napoli in the Coppa Italia quarter-final on January 27.

Incredibly, Spezia would’ve won anyway 3-0 by default, because in extra time Roma made their sixth substitution, when only five were allowed.


Coppa: Roma self-destruct with Spezia

Roma crashed out of the Coppa Italia after an astonishing 4-2 defeat to Spezia in extra time, with two men sent off within 30 seconds, and too many substitutions, meaning they’d have lost anyway.

The winners of this tie will go on to face Napoli in the quarter-final on January 27.

The Giallorossi needed a boost after their embarrassing 3-0 defeat to rivals Lazio in Serie A on Friday evening, while Spezia held out with 10 men for over 80 minutes in a 0-0 draw with Torino. Curiously, Roma and Spezia will face off again in Serie A this weekend.

Borja Mayoral pounced on a defensive misunderstanding in the opening 30 seconds, but fired over the bar from a tricky angle.

However, Spezia were awarded a penalty for Bryan Cristante’s trip on Giulio Maggiore, although contact was minimal. Andrij Galabinov made his first start since a serious injury on October 4 and picked up right where he left off, by finding the net from the spot.

Riccardo Saponara made his first start for Spezia and he marked it with a goal for 2-0. Marash Kumbulla gave the ball away cheaply on the edge of their own penalty area and Saponara curled into the far top corner.

Lorenzo Pellegrini fired wide and Leonardo Spinazzola’s angled drive flashed across the face of goal before the goalkeeper palmed away a ferocious Pellegrini strike.

Titas Krapikas also got down quickly to parry a Pedro effort, but Ardian Ismajli clumsily bundled into the back of Pellegrini for a penalty. Pellegrini converted it himself to get Roma back into the tie before half-time.

Roma started the second half strong, but horribly wasted a golden opportunity when Borja Mayoral tried an audacious back-heel flick and missed Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s assist.

Borja Mayoral managed a truly extraordinary miss on 67 minutes, as Pedro rolled it across, he had an open goal to aim at and ballooned over from seven yards.

Mkhitaryan completed the comeback from 2-0 to 2-2, as he burst into the box after a give-and-go with Mayoral, lofting the lob over on-rushing Krapikas for a stylish finish.

It was nearly 3-2 moments later, as Rick Karsdorp’s wayward volley took a double deflection off Pedro and Mayoral to go over the bar.

Alessandro Deiola drilled wide and Mayoral again just failed to get on the end of a Mkhitaryan ball across the face of goal.

It looked as if Roma would avoid extra time when Borja Mayoral intercepted a shocking back-pass at the 86th minute and the goalkeeper came flying out, but he incredibly fired wide of the target.

Spezia nearly won it in stoppages too, Pau Lopez flying to parry a Roberto Piccoli strike, but the teams are forced to extra time. Curiously, the last time Roma went to extra time in the Coppa Italia was also against Spezia in 2015-16.

Inevitably, Mayoral was replaced by Edin Dzeko, but Roma immediately went down to 10 men, as Gianluca Mancini received a second yellow card.

Incredibly, 30 seconds after that, Pau Lopez came flying off his line, completely mistimed it and clattered Piccoli outside the penalty area for a straight red card. Roma went from 11 men to nine in under a minute. Antonio Mirante was injured, so Daniel Fuzato had to come on and take the gloves.

Saponara’s header looped over and Fuzato made a fingertip save on Maggiore’s strike from the edge of the area.

Spezia eventually restored their lead against nine men, as a Cristian Dell’Orco cross was floated in for ex-Roma youth product Daniele Verde’s header into the top corner.

Saponara made absolutely sure in the final minute, spotting Fuzato off his line to score with a delightful lob from outside the box.

There was one more incredible twist in the tale. RAI Sport suggested Roma made six substitutions instead of five, which was not allowed even in extra time, so they would lose the game 3-0 regardless.

Roma 2-4 Spezia (aet)

Galabinov pen 6 (S), Saponara 15, 119 (S), Pellegrini pen 42 (R), Mkhitaryan 73 (R), Verde 107 (S)

Roma: Pau Lopez; Mancini, Cristante (Fuzato 95), Kumbulla; Peres, Pellegrini, Villar (Veretout 69), Spinazzola (Karsdorp 69); Pedro (Ibanez 95), Mkhitaryan (Carles Perez 85); Borja Mayoral (Dzeko 91)

Spezia: Krapikas; Vignali, Erlic, Ismajli, Ramos (Dell’Orco 68); Deiola (Acampora 80), Leo Sena (Ricci 68), Maggiore; Agudelo (Verde 59), Galabinov (Piccoli 68), Saponara

Ref: Ghersini

Sent off: Mancini 93 (R), Pau Lopez 94 (R)


Kumbulla sees ‘important’ Coppa for Roma

Marash Kumbulla admits the Coppa Italia ‘is an important objective’ for Roma, so they need to get past Spezia.

It kicks off at 20.15 GMT, click here for the line-ups.

This is the first match for the Giallorossi since their humiliating 3-0 Derby d’Italia defeat to Lazio.

“There’s not much we can say. We have to forget about that game and certainly do better, starting from this evening,” centre-back Kumbulla told Roma TV.

“The Coppa Italia is an important objective for us. We need to have a better attitude than the one we showed against Lazio.”

The winners of this Round of 16 tie will go on to face Napoli in the quarter-final.