La Repubblica (Francesca Ferrazza) If, as Alisson said before kick off, “this is the most important game of my life”, then the failure against Lazio risks weighing even more heavily on the shoulders of an already injured Roma, who are now forced to lick their wounds after a dark night. The Giallorossi weren’t able to turn the tie around, left crushed by defeat in the first leg (0-2) and were unable to give their fans a night to remember after one of the most highly anticipated derbies of recent times. The 3-2 win – with goals from El Shaarawy and Salah (who scored 2) – wasn’t enough to change the course of the tie and prevent them from failing to reach the final of the Coppa Italia. The fans tried to help their players, refilling the Curva Sud once more thanks to the removal of the barriers which, up until yesterday night, had emptied and silenced the curva. But the festival of colour and sound was confined to the stands, on the pitch the team were marooned, drifting a long way from safety, and they now face an uncertain future. Eventually the fans started to call for the introduction of Totti, the prayer card they were clinging to in hope of a miracle. The number 10 came onto the pitch 10 minutes before the final whistle. The curva gave the Giallorossi captain energy, but he wasn’t able to make his presence count.
AS Roma Match Program (F. Viola) We spoke to Mario Rui ahead of the league derby to mark his return to the first team after his long injury. It boded well, the Portuguese defender was selected in the squad and the game finished 2-0 to us. A good reason to interview Mario Rui again on the eve of the Coppa Italia match, after 6 appearances in all competitions and with his performances continually improving.
Radja Nainggolan has never been afraid to speak his mind. The Roma midfielder, talking to a group of fans, has said that he “hates Juventus” and has guaranteed that the Giallorossi will end their trophy drought this season. The midfielder’s quotes follow, watch the video (in Italian) below.
Corriere dello Sport (Guido D’Ubaldo) Roma left it until the last possible moment to reach the Coppa Italia semi-final. It needed a penalty from Totti, scored in the 7th minute of injury time, to seal the Giallorossi’s qualification to a two-legged tie against Lazio. Roma made life difficult for themselves against Cesena, who are currently in the relegation zone in Serie B, and were on the verge of going to extra time. Camplone’s team troubled the Giallorossi even in the first half, when they hit the post and created more opportunities than Roma. In the second half, after Dzeko had scored the opener, Garritano scored an equaliser and it took a last minute penalty for Roma to win a game that should have been a gimme. Roma looked distracted, particularly in defence where Manolas was a shadow of the player that has previously played so well this season.
AS Roma Match Program (Tiziano Riccardi) He once decided a Coppa Italia clash between Cesena and Roma. The only game between Cesena and Roma in Coppa Italia history, in fact. What’s more, he wasn’t playing for the Giallorossi, but for the Bianconeri. It was Carlos Bianchi’s first official game, and it wasn’t the best of starts for the Argentine coach who would end up being sacked a few months later for a lack of results. It was he who decided the game with a brace. Scoring goals was what he was best at doing throughout his career. He scored 74 in Serie A, and scored over 300 at all levels. He started right at the bottom, it’s not possible to start from a more provincial province than he did. He is Dario Hubner, one of the most prolific goalscorers of the 1990s, but who only ever played for provincial clubs. He was a rebel, someone who never took much care over his hair or his beard – he normally went out onto the pitch looking as if he’d just woken up. “I became a real player at Cesena, and although I moved around a lot afterwards I had a lot of fun doing it.”
AS Roma Match Program (F. Viola) He wasn’t born in Cesena, but the Emilian city is like home for him now. Francesco Antonioli played 145 times for Roma, 10 of which were in the Coppa Italia, winning the scudetto and a Supercoppa with the Giallorossi. Now he’s Cesena’s goalkeeping coach, and while he’s preparing for an always emotional return to the Olimpico, he says that “Life’s good in Cesena, there’s the right sort of relaxed atmosphere to allow us to work well here.”
Corriere dello Sport (Fabio Massimo Splendore) Roma have an embarrassment of riches. A pitch like the Breda at Sesto San Giovanni can only create problems for a highly technically skilled team like Alberto De Rossi’s Roma Primavera side. But … not this time. It really does look like this team is the best around. Maybe they are. Only Entella, the other Coppa Italia finalist, will be able to prove whether there is currently a better side than the Giallorossi. Winners of the league last season, topped off with victory in the Supercoppa – also against Inter – now they have another trophy in their sights.