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Roma Advance To U-17 and U-18 Scudetto Finals

Though Roma’s Primavera team crashed out of the playoffs at U-19 level, two outta three ain’t bad!

AS Roma v Atalanta BC - Serie A-B U18 Semi-Final Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Roma are still on with a double chance at collecting more youth-level league titles for the 2020-2021 season. The banner victory came in this evening’s U-18 semi-final win, where Roma thrashed Atalanta with a merciless 6-0 victory. Their U-17 colleagues joined them in victory just a day ago, though it isn’t all smiles as Alberto De Rossi’s Roma Primavera squad crashed out of the playoffs and will be dismantled on the summer transfer market.

So, let’s start with the bad:

U-19 Playoff Qualifier: Roma 1, Atalanta 2

AS Roma U19 v Atalanta BC U19 - Primavera 1 TIM Playoffs Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Alberto De Rossi’s Roma never looked convincing as soon as they had to turn to page onto a new 2021 calendar year but, if you’re going to lose a game, you’d damn sure want to lose to a goal like the winner Atalanta’s Alessandro Cortinovis (below) put past Roma this week.

As the higher seeds going into this qualifier game, Roma had the luxury of knowing all they needed was a draw to go through to the Primavera Final Four. And so, true to the mental defeatedness ADR’s side display for the second half of the regular season, Roma made sure to fall behind to an Atalanta opening goal within the first five minutes. However, the half-time entry of substitute Riccardo Ciervo totally changed the game for De Rossi’s troops.

Ciervo was determined to take on men and run into space down the right flank, while him coming on the pitch meant Nicola Zalewski was shifted to playing through the other two channels of the pitch. That duo combined perfectly for Zalewski’s 66th left-foot volley equalizer, assisted by Ciervo. Both players deserved much better for their performances by the final whistle.

The end of the game saw Atalanta triumph through one of the best goals of the season scored at any level in 2020/21, however. We don’t have to put words to Cortinovis’ goal, other than to say it’s now evident why he’s rumored to be the next talent in line for Atalanta to give up to Manchester United for big money this summer. Before then, Atalanta’s U-19 title defense moves onto the Final Four this season. Meanwhile, Roma are reportedly ready to sell a few U-19 jewels of their own.

The most headline-grabbing name to be let go by the club is reported to be Tommaso Milanese. One, because Roma could do with the money and, two, because, other than his ability to make runs off the ball, Milanese just isn’t that well-rounded at U-19 level, let alone how he’ll make do in senior football. But it’s also just generally the moment to call time on the Class of 2002 though, surprisingly, Nicola Zalewski will leave Primavera football definitively (his post-match comments all but confirmed as much) when he could have kept playing on with the Roma U-19s for another season.

AS Roma U19 v Atalanta BC U19 - Primavera 1 TIM Playoffs Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

It’ll be interesting to see what move Zalewski makes this summer, as he really can be an immediate difference-maker at the top level if only through his dead-ball ability alone. Before Zalewski moves away from Roma, however, other media titles reckon that Mourinho wants to take one last look at the youngster.

That’s because VoceGiallorossa reports Jose Mourinho already has a shortlist of 7 Roma Primavera names he wants to trial in the senior squad’s pre-season training camp: Ebrima Darboe, Pietro Boer, Amir Feratovic, Filippo Tripi, Riccardo Ciervo, Ruben Providence, and none other than Nicola Zalewski himself. July is less than a week away, so we won’t have to wait long to find out how true this rumored shortlist really turns out.

U-17 Semifinal: Roma 3, SPAL 2

As the youngest category of football surviving this pandemic-struck season, it’s understandable that this Roma win was nearly completely devoid of television footage (unless you live in Italy and can watch it all on the domestic Roma TV channel). But this team probably takes the cake for the best goal celebration above, as Pietro Tomaselli and the gang went over to all the team’s helicopter parents on the other side of the Agostino Di Bartolomei pitch fencing to celebrate their 121st-minute winning goal.

Roma took a 1-0 lead against SPAL but conceded a demoralizing penalty just before the half-time break, that SPAL made no mistake in scoring to level at 1-1. Then a Roma goalkeeping clanger, early in the second half, allowed SPAL to get 2-1 ahead on the scoreline before Roma saw fit to change the game’s balance with subs off the bench; including midfielder Pietro Tomaselli entering the game along with Roma wide player Matteo Falasca.

It was Falasca who popped up free at the far post to head in Roma’s 87th-minute equalizer for 2-2. And then both sides played out the entire half-hour of extra time before Falasca himself returned the favor by sending in a cross from the left flank for Francesco D’Alessio to score the winner above.

Roma U-17 will now play Genoa U-17 in next week’s Scudetto final on Tuesday 29 June at 19.00 PM local time.

U-18 Semifinal: Roma 6, Atalanta 0

AS Roma v Atalanta BC - Serie A-B U18 Semi-Final Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Roma Primavera’s loss was definitely the U-18 side’s gain, as Felix (fresh off the second-half appearance in that U-19 loss earlier this week) can now exclusively focus on helping the U-18 side gun for the club’s very first league title in this category. And Felix did exactly that today, starting the game and scoring two goals in Roma’s 6-0 rout of Atalanta U-18.

The win is still fresh on this evening’s news so we don’t actually have any footage, but we’re sure the club’s social media will come good with some highlights by tonight. Joining Felix on the scoresheet were goals from Claudio Cassano, Cristian Volpato and another brace from Simone Modugno. Meanwhile, Roma’s number 10 and chief playmaker at this level, Riccardo Pagano, put in a typically influential performance while racking up an assist before being substituted in the second half.

Roma U-18 now awaits the winners of the other semifinal between Inter U-18 and Genoa U-18. The U-18 final will be played on Monday 28 June at 19.00 local time.