Roma sackings after substitute error

It’s reported Roma have fired team manager Gianluca Gombar and Global Sport Officer Manolo Zubiria after the embarrassing substitution error.

They didn’t read the rules correctly for the Coppa Italia and made a sixth substitution during extra time in their 4-2 defeat to Spezia.

Only five changes were allowed, the regulation stated that an extra ‘slot’ was allowed in extra time to make changes, but not an extra substitution.

The five substitutions in 90 minutes can be made in three ‘slots’ to ensure time isn’t wasted.

Because of the howler, Roma would’ve been eliminated from the Coppa Italia even if they hadn’t lost on the field.

This isn’t even the first time this season that Roma have been penalised for not sticking by the rules, as they already had a 3-0 defeat given to them by default against Hellas Verona for fielding Amadou Diawara when he was ineligible.


Pope Francis congratulates Spezia

Spezia had a private meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican today and he congratulated them for the Coppa Italia win against Roma.

The club will remain in Rome for the next few days, as they will face Roma again in Serie A this weekend.

So they took the opportunity to visit Pope Francis at the Vatican and he was given his own Spezia jersey.

“First of all, congratulations, because you did so well yesterday,” His Holiness told the players.

“In Argentina, we dance the tango, and the tango is the 4-2 music. You won 4-2, so that’s good. Congratulations and courage!

“And thank you for visiting me, because I love to see the efforts of young people in sport. Sport is a marvellous thing, it brings out all the best we have in ourselves.

“Continue like this, because it brings you to a great nobility. Thank you for your efforts.”


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.