Roma’s Primavera team have been crowned league champions after beating Juventus on penalties at the Mapei Stadium on Saturday night, their first Campionato Primavera title since 2011.
Roma went behind when Grigoris Kastanos converted a 35th minute penalty for Juventus, given away for a foul by Lorenzo Di Livio on Pol Lirola, and were nearly 2-0 down but Claudio Zappa’s effort hit the crossbar. The Giallorossi reacted early in the second half though when Ezequiel Ponce steered home a low shot from a corner, and nearly won the game in the dying minutes of normal time but Emanuele Spinozzi saw his tap in disallowed for offside. In the end the game went to penalties, and despite a miss from Riccardo Marchizza, Roma won the shootout 7-6 after Lorenzo Crisanto saved from Guido Vadala and Andrea Favilli.
The title is particularly significant for Luca Pellegrini and Mirko Antenucci, who have become the first players not only ever to win three consecutive youth league titles but to do so in three different age categories. After winning the Giovanissimi Nazionali title in 2013/14, the duo both won the Allievi Nazionali Serie A & B title in 2014/15 before completing the treble with the Primavera crown this year.
To watch highlights of the game, click here.
Alberto De Rossi, Primavera coach
“After extra time it seemed to me that it would be harsh that only one of these teams could win. The teams were very evenly balanced and had a similar game plan, it was a fantastic game of football. We won because we deserved the victory and our guys had more character. As well as Sadiq, Tumminiello and Nura, Soleri was missing too – we put him on the bench but he wasn’t ready. It would have been dangerous to bring him on, he was available but we weren’t taking any risks.”
Elio Capradossi, Primavera captain
“It’s been a very difficult year, there were 6-7 months that were very hard for me and Ponce, but thanks to the club and the staff we’ve both come back stronger than before. There are lots of different personalities in this squad but we’re all united as a group and have been making this journey for many years and finally we’ve won this trophy. I think we’ll organise something, a dinner with all our ex-team-mates who have helped us along our way to win this trophy.”
Riccardo Marchizza, Primavera defender
“They were dangerous going forward but Capradossi and Crisanto did really well, as did De Santis and Anocic who had great games. It wasn’t easy going behind and having the courage to come back in such a big match. I have to congratulate the coach, he deserves it. This has been a really important season for us, congratulations to Walter Sabatini too as everything starts with him.”
Frederic Massara, assistant to Walter Sabatini
“Congratulations to the players and everyone in the youth setup. We really want to count on these youngsters in the future. This result is a sign of the work done in the youth sectors, by De Rossi and the other coaches. There are 16 players in the Primavera from the province of Rome who have all been with us for more than 4 years, which means that all the coaches who have taken charge of them year after year can take some credit for yesterday’s result.”