The Claudio Ranieri effect has already worn off, as Roma were beaten 2-1 by a SPAL side who hadn’t won at home for six months.
The Spallini’s last Serie A success at the Stadio Mazza was back on September 17, but they broke that drought and managed to beat Roma both home and away this season for the first time since 1965-66.
This was the second game under Claudio Ranieri, the caretaker manager after Eusebio Di Francesco’s dismissal. He had Edin Dzeko and Federico Fazio back from suspension, but lost Alessandro Florenzi to a ban, with Nicolò Zaniolo, Daniele De Rossi, Aleksandar Kolarov, Kostas Manolas, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Cengiz Under not fully fit. SPAL welcomed back Manuel Lazzari following a long injury lay-off, but were without a home victory since September.
Alessandro Murgia’s glancing header from a Jasmin Kurtic free kick skimmed the far post, but that was only a warning, because SPAL did break the deadlock with a not dissimilar move.
Lazzari whipped in a trademark cross from the right and Mohamed Fares out-jumped Rick Karsdorp for a header that looped over Robin Olsen.
Moments later, Kurtic’s ferocious strike skimmed the far post from 20 metres, while Lazzari turned Juan Jesus inside out to put in several dangerous crosses.
The first real Roma chance came on 35 minutes, with Emiliano Viviano using his legs to parry a Dzeko shot at the base of the near post.
Stephan El Shaarawy and Lazzari fired wide, but Dzeko and Steven Nzonzi looked increasingly frustrated, the striker booked after the half-time whistle for a row with members the SPAL bench on their way down the tunnel.
Ranieri made a double change at the break, introducing Diego Perotti and Nicolò Zaniolo, and it paid off immediately. Dzeko ran on to an excellent Zaniolo through ball and was nudged over by Thiago Cionek for a penalty, which Perotti converted by sending Viviano the wrong way.
Moments later, Petagna ran on to a Fares through ball and fell as he went shoulder-to-shoulder with Juan Jesus for another pretty soft penalty at the other end. Olsen guessed the right side, but couldn’t get his hand to the powerful Petagna spot-kick.
Dzeko thought he had to restore parity with a great move when chesting down the ball, spinning round to leave two defenders stranded and shooting from point-blank range, but Viviano somehow managed to get a one-handed save.
SPAL also came very close to a third goal, as on a corner Missiroli’s floating cross found Thiago Cionek for a free header that looped on to the crossbar.
Dzeko had the final opportunity deep into stoppages, but Perotti's cross was just behind him.
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