What started in the summer of 2018 on the Spanish Steps could reach another high point tomorrow at the Stadio Tre Fontane on the south side of Rome when the Giallorosse host Fiorentina. After finishing the regular season in first place with an eight-point lead over Juventus, Roma's dominance has carried over into the Scudetto pool, where the Giallorosse have maintained a perfect 4-0-0 record while sporting a robust +12 goal differential.
After last weekend's 3-2 victory over second-place Juventus, Roma increased their lead at the top of the table to a near-insurmountable 11 points. And thanks to that rousing come-from-behind victory, the Giallorosse can officially seal the first Scudetto in club history with a win over Fiorentina tomorrow. That's not the only permutation, but any positive result against the Viola tomorrow, coupled with a Juve draw or loss, would seal the deal for the women of Roma.
The Scudetto pool is a recent inclusion in the league structure, introduced after Serie A Femminile downsized to 10 teams. It follows the same home-and-home format as the regular season, so before we dream about tomorrow's potential celebration, let's look back at the first playoff matchup between Roma and Fiorentina.
March 17th: Fiorentina 1, Roma 5
If you ever needed an illustrative example of why Valentina Giacinti was such a momentous signing for the club, look no further. The 29-year-old former capocannoniere effectively put the match on ice in the 11th minute, getting on the end of a beautifully chipped ball from midfielder Giada Greggi to give Roma an early lead.
Midfielder Manuela Giugliano capitalized on a horrendous error from Fiorentina keeper Katja Schroffenegger to technically win the match, but a second goal from Giacinti—an absolutely gorgeous leaping header—and second-half strikes from Carina Wenninger and Benedetta Glionna capped off the 5-1 romp.
We won't go so far as to predict another cakewalk for Roma, but given the two clubs' respective forms (Fiorentina has dropped points in three of their four playoff matches), the smart money remains on the Giallorosse.
However, Alessandro Spugna, ever the pragmatist, tried his best to dampen the premature celebrations, saying simply, "No team wants to come here for our party; they'll want to win."
Spugna's no-nonsense demeanor was put to the test when asked whether or not he altered his preparations for Saturday's potential title-clincher.
"No, we won't (prepare differently), but the emotions might make it feel different, rather than our preparations as such. We've played Fiorentina three times already this year, so we know a lot about them, as they probably do about us. A lot will depend on our approach and focus, but I don't think that will be a problem because it's a huge match for us."
"It's a different game, a new game, and we must get our approach right. I'm sure if we do that, then we'll play well, and we'll probably be able to celebrate."
From Spugna's lips to the Scudetto god's ears. DO NOT MISS THIS MATCH.