Roma's Coppa Italia title defense continues this weekend as Alessandro Spugna and the Giallorosse make the long trek north to Lombardy to take on Como in the first leg of the quarterfinals, and, time permitting, maybe stop by George Clooney's lakeside mansion for some post-match gelato—we'll see, it depends on how much stoppage time they tack onto the end of the match.
All kidding aside, thanks to a pair of pushover wins (5-0 over Tavagnacco and 3-1 over Pomigliano), Roma's title defense has gone swimmingly so far. And their reward for winning Group H is a date with FC Como. The Serie B-leading club squeaked past Sassuolo to take the honors in Group G, edging out the Neroverde on goal differential and feature former Roma defender Emma Lipman, who has found a second home in Italy, plying her trade with Florentia, Lazio, and now Como.
While I'm sure Roma aren't exactly losing sleep over their two-leg tilt against tiny Como FC, Spugna was quick to caution anyone overlooking their northern neighbors.
As Spugna mentioned in his interview with Roma TV (he also gave a great interview with Vanity Fair on the state of women's football in Italy), Como played Sassuolo to a gutty one-one draw in the final group stage match, slipping past Sassuolo on goal differential to book a spot in the quarterfinals. Granted, that was a one-off match and they advanced on a technicality, but Sassuolo are level with Roma on points on the league table, so if they can fall to Como, so can Roma.
As one might imagine, there isn't a lot of information (in English) available on Como, so we'll wrap this up with a quick look at Spugna's lineup selections. Roma were dealt a minor blow after last weekend's 1-0 win over Napoli, losing midfield maestro Manuela Giugliano to a sprained MCL in her right knee, while striker Valeria Pirone sustained a separated right shoulder. While they're both on the mend, neither player is likely to suit up tomorrow afternoon.
While Spugna prefers to think of squad rotation as choosing specific players for specific matches, chances are we'll see a few new faces in the lineup tomorrow, perhaps even the club's most recent signing, Swedish defender Beata Kollmats, who missed last weekend's match against Napoli with a slight knock.
If Spugna continues to rely on the 3-5-2 formation, look for Camelia Ceasar, who just re-upped with the club through 2024, to return to her spot in goal, with Kollmats, Elena Linari, and Tecla Pettenuzzo rounding out the backline. In midfield, look for Lucia Di Guglielmo and Annamaria Serturini to occupy the wing-back spots with Vanessa Bernauer, Giada Greggi, and Andressa Alves supporting Paloma Lázaro and young Alice Corelli up top, though we may see Benedetta Glionna return to the starting lineup after a brief absence.
Admittedly, anything can happen tomorrow but given the sheer gulf in class between these two clubs, not to mention the fact the return leg is in Rome in two weeks, the smart money remains on the Giallorosse.