SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 19 - 23 Jan 2021 (14.00 UK)
Roma 4 - 3 Spezia
Mayoral 17, 52 (R), Piccoli 24 (S), Karsdorp 55 (R), Farias 59 (S), Verde 90 (S), Pellegrini 92 (R)
Stadio Olimpico

Roma rescued coach Paulo Fonseca’s job with a stoppage-time Lorenzo Pellegrini goal after a thrilling 4-3 win over Spezia.

Watch the highlights here

These teams already met in the Coppa Italia four days ago, Spezia winning 4-2 in extra time with two Giallorossi sent off. Above all, two members of the Roma staff were fired after making too many substitutions, sparking a mutiny within the squad. Edin Dzeko, Federico Fazio and Juan Jesus were left out, officially due to injury, with Pedro, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Antonio Mirante, Riccardo Calafiori, Nicolò Zaniolo, Javier Pastore and suspended Gianluca Mancini.

The visitors had Luca Vignali suspended after the 0-0 draw with Torino, Riccardo Saponara and top scorer M’Bala Nzola injured for their first ever Serie A meeting with Roma.

Leonardo Spinazzola dribbled past two players for a blocked toe-poke at the near post within 22 seconds.

Borja Mayoral was guilty of some quite astonishing misses against Spezia midweek, but he kept his cool this time to fire in when Lorenzo Pellegrini sprung the offside trap down the left on a long Spinazzola ball over the top and rolled across the box.

However, Spezia bit back when Diego Farias managed to get a timid shot away from a tight angle and Pau Lopez only fingertipped it into the path of Roberto Piccoli to tap in from six yards.

Piccoli then pulled up with a hamstring problem, making way for Andrij Galabinov, while Borja Mayoral and Pellegrini fired off target.

Ivan Provedel flew to fingertip a Pellegrini strike over the bar from the edge of the D.

Mayoral completed his first Serie A brace to restore Roma’s lead, as he began the move from the centre-circle, completed the give-and-go with Jordan Veretout and drilled under on-rushing Provedel.

Spinazzola then flew down the left and picked a perfect pass, rolling across for Rick Karsdorp to tap in at the back post, despite Marchizza’s attempts at a clearance.

However, Spezia got one back for a third goal in six minutes, as Diego Farias used his pace to sprint away from defenders and score from 15 yards on a Galabinov flicked header.

Borja Mayoral blasted horribly off target when sent clear by Carles Perez, then Veretout rolled across the face of goal with nobody able to get the tap-in.

Pellegrini’s angled drive forced a one-handed Provedel save only for Perez to hit the side-netting on the rebound.

Roma looked as if once again they were about to throw away points by wasting scoring opportunities, as at the 90th minute Daniele Verde pounced on a Chris Smalling error to score the equaliser.

However, it still wasn’t over, as Spinazzola burst down the left, Bruno Peres chested down the cross and laid it off for Pellegrini to blast into the roof of the net from six yards. It sparked wild celebrations from the players and coach Fonseca.

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Roma: Pau Lopez; Ibanez, Kumbulla, Smalling; Karsdorp (Bruno Peres 80), Villar (Cristante 67), Veretout, Spinazzola; Pellegrini, Perez; Mayoral
Spezia: Provedel; Dell’Orco (Bastoni 58), Terzi, Chabot (Erlic 80), Marchizza; Estevez, Agoume, Maggiore (Acampora 58); Gyasi (Verde 80), Piccoli (Galabinov 32), Farias
Ref: Pairetto