Roma meltdown: Why the Italian side would have had to forfeit even if they’d overcome two red cards to win


AS Roma coach Paulo Fonseca has promised that the Italian club will look into the astonishing mistake they made in Tuesday’s 4-2 Coppa Italia loss after extra time (AET) to Spezia.

The hosts fought back from 2-0 down at Stadio Olimpico to take the tie to extra time before the visitors capitalized on Gianluca Mancini’s second booking and Pau Lopez’s straight red card with two more goals.

However, the controversy struck when Fonseca sent on Roger Ibanez after 95 minutes with five changes having already been made before that point.

Roma believed that they could make six substitutions with an additional change for extra time, but the rule was never ratified for the Coppa Italia by the Italian soccer federation (FIGC).

Speaking after the final whistle in Rome, Fonseca stated that there would be internal discussions if an error had been made.

“If there is an issue, there is time to discuss it internally,” the Portuguese tactician said to RAI Sport. “In this case, there is one.”

Roma were thumped 3-0 by bitter rivals SS Lazio in last week’s Derby della Capitale and Fonseca saw his side collapse after going down to nine men against Spezia.

“We started poorly,” he said. “There was the penalty which was difficult to understand. However, the team responded, they played well and created chances — it could have been different.

“We missed chances to win and then it became so much harder with two men sent off. It is a difficult moment as we wanted to advance but I cannot criticize the players’ attitudes.”

Appointed in 2019 but under pressure as Roma’s title hopes fade on a three-match winless streak across all competitions, Fonseca is not paying attention to speculation about his future.

“My future has been a hot topic ever since I arrived,” he said. I am encouraged by our league position as it is where we want to be, and I believe in my team. Whenever we do not win, I am always being discussed.”

Had Roma beaten Spezia in extra time, the use of one too many substitutes would have seen the away side awarded a default victory.





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