Totti’s 95th Minute Penalty Sends Roma to the Semi Finals Lazio Awaits #53

Week 32Score: A.S Roma 2 Cesena 1FT
Stadio Olimpico, Rome


               Following Roma’s heartbreaking loss to Sampdoria last weekend Roma would return to action in the Quarterfinals of the Coppa Itaila Italy’s domestic cup. They would try to get back on track in their sole crushing loss over the weekend on match day 22. A win would take them through Semi Finals where they would meet up with local rivals Lazio who beat Inter Milan this week 2-1 at the San Siro to advance through. Serie B Cesena had been the Cinderella story of the Coppa Itaila going into this game looking for another upset as they were prepared to take of the Romans. In last year’s competition Roma was eliminated by a Serie B team much like the one they played in this game so an upset wasn’t out of the question it still was a possibility. It was important for Roma to get their confidence back and they would get it but it didn’t turn out to be an easy game it challenged them throughout. There wasn’t any scoring until early into the 2nd half when Dzeko put away his 4 goal in 5 games to give the Giallorossi the 1-0 lead it I assumed that they would be able to keep it but much like last weekend Cesena fired back to equalize several minutes later. It would stay even until the last kick of the ball Roma were given a Penalty in the stoppable time in the 95th minute and Roma’s greatest ever player 40-year old Francesco Totti would step up and fire his team trough to the Semifinals. Where we will see the Derby Della Capatiale twice in a two leg Semi Final between local rivals Roma and Lazio.
                A lot of big news coming in this week with the Transfer Window closing as the deadline passed on Tuesday. But before we get into that we have another update from Gabon as Mouhamed Salah in competing in the African Cup of Nations. In the Semi Finals Salah scored as Egypt won and will be advancing to the Final after beating Burkina Faso in a Penalty shootout to advance to the Final where they will play Cameroon we wish Salah and Egypt the best of the luck in the final. Let’s talk about the big news of the transfer window, Roma’s Center back Kosta Manolas has been the subject to many transfer rumors over the last few weeks a deal has finally been struck Inter Milan have agreed to 22 Million fee after the Greek International agreed to a 5-year contract as he will join the Milan Giants next summer. A blow for Roma for sure but Roma have a lot of quality defenders with Fazio, Rudiger, Rui,Florenzi and some others as well they shouldn’t be any drop off in performance. It also has been confirmed that the Kessie Rumors were completely false it possible Roma could go back in for him in the summer but so as it stands he won’t be coming. Leandro Paredes was another name thrown in transfer rumors he would be remaining at the club as a suspected. Making Clement Grenier loan move from Lyon the only signing in the winter transfer window. Also Alexandro Florenzi is close to full recovery and we could see Italian make his return this month. Spalletti went with a little different team for this cup tie he continued to go with Roma’s current 3-4-2-1 formation. In goal as the keeper would be the Brazilian Allison Becker he has been Roma’s #2 started games in the Cup and the Europa league while Roma’s #1 Szcz?sny got rested for this game. In the back as the defensive line as there back three would be a little different from their last makes as they make two changes in the back. Antione Rudiger would remain as the teams’ right back in as the center back would be Manolas replacing Fazio in the starting 11 giving Roma’s most consistent defender the much need rest as he’s been a work horse this season. Than to finish off the defense it would Juan Jesus coming in for Thomas Vermaelen at left back. The midfield unite would be a little different as well, as the left attacking midfielder making just his 2nd start of the season would be Mario Rui than on the opposite side playing as the right midfielder as usual would be Bruno Peres. Than as the duo in the center midfield would be Leonardo Paredes coming in for Danielle De Rossi and Kevin Strootman. Than in front would be the attacking midfield pair Stephen El Shaarawy on the left wing and Diego Perotti on the right wing than finally upfront coming in for Edin Dzeko would be the Legend Francesco Totti making his 771st appearance for Roma
                It would be the Quarterfinals of the Coppa Itaila Roma would welcome Serie B Cessna to the Stadio Olimpico. Cessna despite being 19th in Serie B put together a fantastic Cinderella run in this year’s domestic cup beating several Serie A teams on the way to the last 8. It would be important for Roma to not take them lightly given the fact last season they lost to a Serie B side in this exact competition. Roma lately haven’t been in the best of from lately they haven’t been the same since Mouhamed Salah left for the African Cup of nations last month they lost last weekend to Sampdoria a loss that severely damaged there title chances this season. Roma would go into the game has big favorites as they are pretty untouchable at home but were weary of what a underdog team could do. After days of preparation the team got there teams ready for an addition of a Wednesday night football match in Italian capital as they kicked off in Rome. Much like many of their games this season roma were in control from the beginning they have a huge advantage in the possession battle but it still wasn’t total dominance it was a bit of a back and forth affair. Roma would get a brilliant chance in the 8th minute to attempt to open up the scoring Bruno Peres from near the midfield hit a fantastic deep ball into El Shaarawy would chased the ball down with his pace to just get a foot on in as the keeper would drop the ball out of his hands but was able to recover despite not scoring it was a great chance good team commutation between El Shaarawy and Bruno. A little later Roma would get another chance in the beginning of the game Roma was the better team early in it would become more evenly matched but in the beginning of the match it was all Roma. During a traffic jam in the box after a cross in the attacking area Rudiger heading out to Manolas who was free from outside the box than the Greek International would hit it with a lot a power just barely missing wide. Cessna came to alive about 20 minutes in getting there first real chance of the game on the attack near the box Cesena would hit a cross into the box in for their striker that hit it at a tough angle but just missing the target. At this point the game would become more of a back and forth battle. Cessna would get another chance minutes later on a free kick but again a close header goal but misfired It was clear this would be a battle. Cessna again had another chance they weren’t afraid of the Romans as they were attacking with great success A strike from inside the box just missing showing they belong here. Several minutes later that had their biggest chance of the game when Cesena put a header on target forcing Allison to extend is arm to get a arm on it, it nearly put Roma in a 1-0 hole. Allison made several more fantastic saves late in the 1st half making sure Roma stayed even. The 1st 45 minutes would end 0-0 but Cesena was doing the damage despite being an even score.



                 Despite the 0-0 score Roma hadn’t been at their best they were changes to be made prior to the start of the second half. Edin Dzeko was brought in earlier in the 1st half for Diego Perotti and Raja Nainggolan was brought it for Juan Jesus at the start of the 2nd half. With the sub Rui would move down to defense as Raja would take over his spot in the midfield. As well as Dzeko taking over Totti’s spot and Totti moving down to attacking midfield. The 2nd half was underway it continued to be a back an forth game between the two teams a game that was hard to call with both team showing their worth. Dzeko would attempt to make his mark on the game as he curled a strike from the corner of the box just barely missing nearly his 22nd goal of the season. Minutes after he Rudiger set Dzeko for another scoring chance the German launched a ball from far out into the box Dzeko controlled it with his chest and shot the ball at the goal but the keeper got in front of it. The Dzeko show would continue as this time Totti gave Dzeko a thorough ball in the box and once again a wonderful chance by Dzeko ruined as he just missed. Roma looked in control once again after several strong attacks the moment finally came Roma would break through in the 68th minute. Raja Nainggolan would start the break sending a through ball to Stephen El Shaarawy than led two a break EL Shaarawy passed to Dzeko in the box and the Bosnian finished with ease putting in the back of the net giving Roma the 1-0 lead. It would be Edin Dzeko’s 22nd goal of the season and his 4th goal in the last 5 games. A goal displaying great team work, Dzeko has been nothing short of sensational this season for the Giallorossi. Unfortunately once again the lead wouldn’t last very long 4 minutes later in the 72nd minute there would be an equalizer for Cessna. There would be a poor cross that went straight to Allison but Manolas got in his way causing him to fall down and drop the ball and L. Garritano smashed into the open net to equalize. Manolas costing Roma dearly causing roma fans to howl the player that complained that he did not play last week costing Roma this week he just looked uninterested in this game. It looked like last year’s nightmare could repeat itself it went from hope to disaster just like that. Roma was still doing everything they could to win this game in regular time; the Giallorossi was given a free kick in the 78th minute to give them a chance of a late goal. Totti’s free kick ripped through the wall but the keeper got his hands to it. Than in the 94th minute in stoppage time Roma were gifted a chance to win the game. Raja Nainggolan’s chipped ball into Kevin Strootman as he kicked it at the keeper but the keeper charged out defending it tripping Strootman and the ref pointed to the penalty spot to give Roma a chance to win it late. It was a controversial decision as many disagreed but to me it was a clear penalty the ref made the right call and I am saying this as a neutral. Roma Legend Francesco Totti would step up to take it in the 95th minute and he would blast it past the keeper to give Roma the 2-1 lead and win. It would be Totti’s 307th goal for Roma as the Legend would send Roma through to set up a Derby Semifinal.
                After the win Roma get back in business after their loss over the weekend with this win Roma advance to the semifinals where they will play Local Rivals Lazio in a two leg semifinal. Roma have won their last 5 games against them and are unbeaten in the last 6 seasons. It should be a tough two games but Roma should go through they are the better team. They will return to action in Serie A this week playing against Proven side Fiorentina they lost the 1st meeting between the two in controversial manor so Roma are Ready to get revenge at home. Also Mohamed Salah will likely be back next weekend as Egypt are playing in the African Cup final against Cameroon this week. He will likely be back for their home match against Torino the following week. Getting him back will be huge for Roma especially considering the current state of things.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Edin Dzeko, Francesco Totti (Shared)
NEXT GAME IN SERIE A: vs Fiorentina, February 7th
NEXT Game In EUROPA LEAGUE: Round Of 32 1st Leg @ Villarreal, February 16th

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