The annual Roma “winter blackout” of rock-bottom form is in full flow, as the club fell to one of the lowest points in giallorosso history tonight. This match had everything you wouldn’t want (and couldn’t even imagine) in a Roma loss: Losing to a smaller team, an ex-Roma forward scoring the winner on the night, Roma defaulting the match by making too many substitutions, and chuck in a couple of red cards to boot.
Roma virtually began this match 1-0 down, thanks to a very soft penalty call inside the first five minutes of the game. That would be just the opening salvo of an erratic refereeing performance to come but, make no mistake, this loss was (without taking away too much credit from Spezia) mostly of Roma’s own making.
As if going 1-0 down on the night wasn’t enough of a red flag, the individual errors continue to plague Roma’s backline as rotation defender Max Kumbulla made a glaring fault to help Spezia go 2-0 up in the first half. Roma did pull one back before half-time through a Lorenzo Pellegrini penalty and eventually fought back to 2-2 in the second half. But Borja Mayoral would fluff a golden moment (one of many), put through one-on-one with the Spezia keeper, for the chance to send Roma through to the next round at the very end of 90 minutes. That only let the door open for a further half-hour of extra time that had to be seen to be believed.
There were two red cards and Paulo Fonseca unintentionally revealing he didn’t even understand the rules of the game, by trying to make an illegal sixth substitution (the second time this season that Roma would have lost a football match by default, that has to be some kind of first in top-flight football?), on a night that ended with 4-2 win for Spezia; a club now looking to defend their 100% win record over Roma in the next round of Serie A this Saturday.