The women of Roma have been on an absolute tear over the past few months, delighting us with lopsided blowouts and thrilling come from behind victories. Since dropping their first three matches, the Giallorosse have won nine of their last twelve in all competitions, including three in row by a combined 9-2 scoreline. Thanks to this impressive run of form, Roma have risen all the way to fourth in the table, putting six points between themselves and fifth place Florentia. Unfortunately, thanks in part to that slow start, the ladies will probably have a hard time closing the gap on first place Juventus, who sit atop Serie A with 37 points, 11 clear of Roma.
However, in the middle of that nine-wins-in-twelve stretch was a 3-1 victory over Orobica in the Coppa Italia's Round of 16. By virtue of that victory, Betty Bavagnoli's side has advanced to the quarterfinals where they will face...Roma?
While they may not be at the nexus of the universe, standing in the way of Roma and a trip to the semifinals is one of the city's other female football clubs, Roma Calcio Femminile, know simply as Roma C.F.
Roma's other team has the same colors and an eerily similar logo to AS Roma, but the similarities really stop there. Roma CF have a much deeper history than our Roma, dating back to the 1960s, when then AS Roma president Franco Evangelisti not only gave them the all clear to use the Roma moniker, but actually outfitted the team with balls, kits and boots. Roma CF then hit the ground running, winning the Scudetto in 1969 and the Coppa Italia in 1972.
Roma C.F. vs Roma: January 30th, 14:30 CET/8:30 EST. Campo Certosa, Roma.
In addition to competing in Serie B this season, Roma CF has one of the country's most renowned developmental academies, registering over 150 players throughout the country, as well as winning multiple youth titles at nearly level over the past decade, including U21 and U15. Roma CF also runs a five-a-side program, a soccer school, a futsal club and even a team for disabled players. Put simply, if anyone in Italy knows women's football, it's Roma CF.
And their senior team ain't so bad either. Currently sitting in fifth place in Serie B, Roma CF are six points behind second place Empoli for the final promotion spot. Inter Milan, incidentally, are a perfect 12-0 and sport a +41 goal differential, so it's safe to say they'll be back up next season and will presumably want Agnese Bonfantini back from Roma; a depressing thought if ever there was one.
But I digress...
Despite that rich history and their decent league spot, Roma CF shouldn't present much of a challenge for the Giallorosse, who are, as we mentioned, one of the hottest sides in the league. However, with a date against Juventus looming on Sunday, we can safely assume Bavagnoli will want to rest some of her core players, meaning we may see some new faces tomorrow afternoon in this extremely rare Roma vs Roma derby.
All of which circles back to our original point: Roma probably can't catch Juventus this season, but the Coppa Italia offers a fresh slate and a chance to show Juve, AC Milan and Fiorentina, the league's top three sides, that Roma are a forced to be reckoned with.
However, before we worry about that, Roma has to make sure that Roma doesn't happen against Roma.