COPPA ITALIA RECAP: AS Roma, Fiorentina Crash Out; Juventus, Napoli Advance
Italian capital club AS Roma’s season took a turn for the worse after they were dumped out of the Coppa Italia last 16 4-2 on penalties by lowly Spezia from the second-division thus heaping more pressure on under-fire boss Rudi Garcia.
Bosnian internationals Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko missed Roma’s first two spot kicks after the game had finished goalless despite the conclusion of extra time. Opponents Spezia however scored all four of their own to seal a quarter-final place against third-division giant-killers Alessandria, who has already knocked out Genoa and Palermo.
Roma’s American President James Pallotta thereafter apologised to fans via the club’s official twitter account as follows: “On behalf of AS Roma and myself, I want to apologize to the fans for today’s game.”
“Congratulations to Spezia.” he added. The pressure continues to build on coach Rudi Garcia with his team winless in any competition since the Rome derby victory over Lazio on November 8. Fans whistled the team at the end of each period during the game and there were also chants against Garcia. He scraped his team into the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, where they would meet 10-time champions Real Madrid, however, a disappointing league form in addition to the shock defeat to Spezia has compounded his woes.
Speaking after the game, Garcia said: ”Tonight we were expected to win and we didn’t, it’s a failure. We have to weather the storm, recapture the wolf-like spirit, but I never give up and I will push the team until the death, if that’s what is needed.
“Now the only thing we need do is not give up and get back to winning ways from Sunday against Genoa. We need character and pride. We are all angry at tonight’s performance. You can’t go out of the Italian cup against a Serie B side. We need a different attitude on the pitch.” he concluded.
In a related development, holders Juventus cruised into the last 8 with an emphatic 4-0 win over 10-man Torino in the Turin derby. Napoli also crushed Hellas Verona 3-0 to book a quarter-final spot while relegation-threatened Carpi pulled off an amazing 1-0 win at Fiorentina courtesy Antonio Di Gaudio.
Round of 16 Results:
Juventus 4-0 Torino
AS Roma 0-0 Spezia(Spezia win 4-2 on Penalties)
Napoli 3-0 Hellas Verona
Fiorentina 0-1 Carpi
Genoa 1-2 Alessandria(AET)
Inter Milan 3-0 Cagliari
Lazio vs. Udinese
Sampdoria vs. AC Milan