Roma have the chance to avenge their midweek Coppa Italia exit to Spezia on Saturday at 2pm (UK time), as both sides tee off once more at the Stadio Olimpico in Serie A.
Regulation time failed to separate the sides in the capital for their round-of-16 clash, setting up a dramatic half hour of extra time. The hosts picked up two red cards in the space of seconds, and Spezia duly capitalised on their numerical advantage, scoring twice in to secure a 4-2 win and progress to the quarter-finals.
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Where to watch Roma vs Spezia on TV:
- UK: Premier Sports 1
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Roma 3-1 Spezia
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Roma vs Spezia build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Roma will be licking the wounds from their dispiriting exit in the Coppa Italia, which came just days after a debilitating 3-0 loss in the Derby della Capitale to eternal rivals Lazio. Paulo Fonseca’s side remain on course to end their two-year exile from the top four in Serie A, but they must avoid a repeat of Tuesday’s result if they are to keep pace with those above them.
However, Spezia will feel confident of once again causing an upset at the Stadio Olimpico. Vincenzo Italiano’s side have been in excellent form since the turn of the year, ending an eight-game winless run in Serie A to clinch successive victories over Napoli, Sampdoria and a draw with Torino. Their recent win over Roma in the cup now makes it four games on the bounce without defeat.
- Roma (vs Spezia): Lopez; Mancini*, Cristante, Kumbulla; Peres, Pellegrini, Villar, Spinazzola; Pedro, Mkhitaryan, Mayoral.
- Spezia (vs Roma): Krapikas; Vignali*, Ismajli, Erlic, Ramos; Deiola, Sena, Maggiore; Agudelo, Saponara, Galabinov.
Roma remain without the services of Nicolo Zaniolo, Javier Pastore, Antonio Mirante and Amadou Diawara, while Gianluca Mancini is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season in the Derby della Capitale defeat.
For Spezia, they are without Elio Capradossi, Federico Mattiello, Salva Ferrer and Simone Bastoni, while Luca Vignali is banned owing to his red card in the previous Serie A game against Torino. Italiano could welcome back M’Bala Nzola, though, after missing the last two games with an ankle problem.
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Players to watch:
- Roma: Fonseca has a big decision to make for this contest. Having watched his side fire a blank in the last league game against Lazio, he may be tempted to drop Edin Dzeko for Real Madrid loanee Borja Mayoral, who has scored three goals in his last two Serie A starts. However, the Spaniard was handed a starting role against Spezia in midweek, and he had a game to forget. Two gilt-edged chances fell his way, it was bread-and-butter stuff for any poacher, but he failed to capitalise on either opportunity and his side ultimately crashed out. So, Fonseca will likely restore Dzeko to his starting XI, hoping the veteran Bosnian can right the wrongs from Tuesday and keep Roma on track for a Champions League qualification place.
- Spezia: With top scorer Nzola touch and go to start against Roma, Italiano will likely put his faith in experienced forward Andrey Galabinov. The 32-year-old featured in the first three games of the season, scoring three goals (against Sassuolo and a brace in the 2-0 win over Udinese), but a leg injury has kept him out of action for just over three months. He returned to play three minutes against Torino last time out in the league and started against Roma in midweek, scoring and assisting both goals in normal time. The Bulgaria international’s return has come at a perfect time, and he could once again prove Roma’s nemesis if given the nod.
Serie A 2020/21 recent form:
- Roma: LDWWW
- Spezia: DWWLL
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