Coppa Italia Review: Roma pay penalty as Juventus and Napoli ease into quarters
Serie B side Spezia claimed a penalty shootout triumph to dump Roma out of the Coppa Italia and pile further pressure onto their coach Rudi Garcia.
Frenchman Garcia was defiant over his future after the match, insisting he would “stay on and fight to the death”, but his players lacked similar fire during the preceding goalless 120 minutes.
Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko handed the top-flight hosts a nightmare start from the penalty spot at the Stadio Olimpico, while Spezia held their nerve impeccably from 12 yards for a 4-2 shootout triumph.
Victory sees Spezia progress to the last eight for only the third time in history, where they will face third-tier outfit Alessandria, who overcame Genoa on Tuesday.
Holders Juventus endured no such trouble as they brushed aside 10-man Torino 4-0 in a typically feisty Turin derby.
A pumped-up Simone Zaza made the most of a starting berth in attack by scoring a goal in each half for the hosts – his second coming in the aftermath of Torino defender Cristian Molinaro being sent off for a second booking.
Zaza’s replacement Paulo Dybala made it 3-0 before Paul Pogba floated home a wonderful free-kick to complete the scoring and seal a quarter-final meeting with either Udinese or last season’s beaten finalists Lazio.
Napoli made similarly light work of Serie A basement boys Verona with a 3-0 win at the Stadio San Paolo.
Omar El Kaddouri converted Gonzalo Higuain’s cutback to open the scoring and a wonderful solo goal from Dries Mertens made it 2-0 after 12 minutes.
Mertens was brought down by Mohamed Fares, only for Marek Hamsik to miss a second-half penalty, but substitute Jose Callejon ended Verona’s lingering hopes in the 75th minute.
Elsewhere, Verona’s fellow strugglers Carpi shocked Fiorentina with a 1-0 win at the Stadio Franchi – Antonio Di Gaudio crafting a winner 14 minutes from time to book a last-eight showdown with the winner of Sampdoria versus AC Milan.
Both teams finished with 10 men as a stoppage time spat saw Jerry Mbakogu and Gonzalo Rodriguez received their second yellow cards.