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Sinners & Saints: Roma 2, Spezia 4

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Still short of the silver star, no saints to be found.

Football Italy cup AS Roma-Spezia Calcio Photo by Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

I hate writing downer Sinners & Saints. For me, watching Roma underperform is cruel and unusual punishment, akin to that scene from The Simpsons when Sideshow Bob keeps stepping on rakes:

It’s bad enough to have seen that 3-0 loss in the Derby Della Capitale, but to lose in the Coppa yet again, this time to Spezia? AND with a substitution error causing an automatic 3-0 loss? What an embarrassment.

The Sinners

Paulo Fonseca

Football Italy cup AS Roma-Spezia Calcio Photo by Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

I like to think of myself as fairly pro-Fonseca, but this match might be just enough to put me into the #FonsecaOut brigade. Losing 4-2 to Spezia, even in the Coppa, is unacceptable. Having that 4-2 loss turn into a 3-0 automatic loss because of a substitution error in extra time is a fireable offense, in my opinion.

Even if you ignore that horrific mistake, the flaws in Fonsecaball were on full display yesterday. Roma obviously has more quality than Spezia, but Giallorossi defensive errors were eagerly seized by their Ligurian opponents, and Roma did absolutely nothing worthwhile to exploit Spezia’s own defensive liabilities. I’m not one to jump to blaming the coach first, but these two losses in a row do beg the question of whether we’ve reached the ceiling of what Paulo Fonseca’s Roma can become.

Borja Mayoral

SS Lazio v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Come on, Borja. I’ve been hyping you up for a while, suggesting that you might even be the long-term replacement for Edin Džeko, and this is how you repay me? The Spanish striker had five key chances to score during his ninety minutes on the pitch. They turned into zero goals. That’s simply horrid, and against a shambolic Spezia defense, that’s unacceptable.

The fact that Mayoral is arguably the least sinful sinner on this list tells you something about the match. I still hold out hope that he can become Roma’s striker of the future, or at least a solid consistent backup option. Matches as horrible as these definitely give me pause, though.

Gianluca Mancini

Football Italy cup AS Roma-Spezia Calcio Photo by Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

I like Gianluca Mancini. I think he’s going to be a key cog in Roma’s defense for a long time. Personally? I think he’s a better defender overall than Roger Ibañez, but don’t tell the superclubs that will come hunting for defensive reinforcements from Rome I said that. Nevertheless, a red card is an automatic sinner spot by my rules, no ifs, ands or buts.

This red was far better than the next sinner’s red, but still, Roma are supposed to be a serious club. Getting carded one minute into extra time in an elimination cup game is unacceptable. Hopefully, this can be a learning moment for Mancini, because of the three main sinners from yesterday’s match, he’s the only one I’m relatively confident will still be in Rome next season.

Pau Lopez

Football Italy cup AS Roma-Spezia Calcio Photo by Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

At this point I almost feel sorry for the leader of the Pau Patrol. It’s obvious to anyone with eyes that he’s basically done in Rome and has probably lost his chance to be a goalkeeper for a big European side. The red card in the 92nd minute that forced Fonseca to put Daniel Fuzato between the sticks arguably ended Roma’s chance to advance in the Coppa, and this wasn’t a red card that was particularly inconspicuous. You kick someone in the face, you typically get sent off.

I don’t have much more to say about Lopez than that, mainly because I’ve written so much about Lopez’s let-downs now that anything I write will just be the same idea said in a different way. He’s not up to snuff, and Roma needs a new goalkeeper who can actually lead the solid defensive corps Roma has put together.

It’s only late January, but matches like these are just making me wish for the end of the season. Let’s hope that Roma can find something new to show in the next few months, or 2021 is going to feel even longer than 2020.

Poll

Should Fonseca be sacked?

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    No
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