Patrik Schick finally got his debut Serie A goal in a Roma jersey and consolidated third place with a 3-0 victory in Ferrara, ending SPAL’s unbeaten run.
The hosts were undefeated in eight rounds, six of them draws, but still hovered just above the relegation zone. The Giallorossi were in joint third place with Lazio, one point ahead of Inter, but had to rotate their squad ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final with Liverpool, so January signing Jonathan Silva finally made his debut.
SPAL were furious after 12 minutes when Mirco Antenucci sprung the offside trap to enter the box and went down in a tangle of legs with Federico Fazio. The referee waved play on, considering it to be a natural coming together, but even after multiple replays it’s open to interpretation.
Stephan El Shaarawy’s curler was deflected inches wide, then his first touch let him down on a Maxime Gonalons through ball.
Lorenzo Pellegrini burst into the box and hesitated, allowing SPAL defenders to close him down, but moments later contributed to Roma’s opener.
Kevin Strootman won back possession, spread it down the right for Pellegrini, who rolled back across, but Francesco Vicari got the final touch when trying to anticipate the Dutchman and scored an own goal.
Vicari also picked up an injury and had to come off, replaced by Alberto Grassi for a move to the 4-4-2 system. Pellegrini had another chance, his angled drive beaten away by Alex Meret’s legs at the near post, and Radja Nainggolan blasted over.
There were two wonderful team moves that should’ve extended Roma’s lead in first half stoppages, but El Shaarawy’s half-volley on a delightful Schick chipped pass was parried by Meret from point-blank range. Nainggolan also should’ve done better, but his shot hit the side-netting.
SPAL made another change at half-time, returning to 3-5-2, but Roma doubled their lead. A free kick was cleared only to the edge of the box, where Nainggolan let it bounce and thumped a precise right-foot low half-volley into the far bottom corner. Schick tried to stick out a toe to redirect, but didn’t appear to make contact.
Alisson Becker had to make his first real save of the match on 55 minutes, getting down to fingertip the Alberto Paloschi angled drive away as Bruno Peres dived in to stop the Antenucci follow-up.
Meret parried an El Shaarawy solo effort and Schick further extended the advantage with his first Serie A goal in a Giallorossi jersey. A corner was played short for Pellegrini and the cross found Schick’s glancing header from six yards.
El Shaarawy went on a powerful solo run past three defenders, only to lose his balance and fire wide, while Antenucci did the same and forced Alisson into a one-handed save at the near top corner.
El Shaarawy was unlucky not to get his goal with a diving header on Schick’s cross that thumped the upright.
SPAL lost goalkeeper Alex Meret to a shoulder problem in the final stages.
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