Hapless in Serie A, Cremonese pulled off another shock in the Italian Cup on Wednesday by beating Roma 2-1 to reach the semifinals for only the second time in their history — and the first in 36 years.
Last-place Cremonese, without a win in the league, followed up their cup victory at Napoli in the last round by eliminating Jose Mourinho’s Roma.
It will face Fiorentina in their first semifinal since 1987. The other semifinal pits holders Inter Milan against either Juventus or Lazio.
Cremonese’s win at Napoli was coach Davide Ballardini’s first match in charge and he followed that up with a draw at Bologna and a narrow loss to Inter in Serie A.
Wednesday’s match at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico was Cremonese’s first quarterfinal since 1997 but the players didn’t let the occasion get to them and impressed from the start.
Roma defender Marash Kumbulla was partly to blame for the opener, however, as he took too long on the ball, allowing Cyriel Dessers to steal it off him on the halfway line and sprint downfield into the area where he was brought down by goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Dessers dusted himself down and fired a precise penalty into the top left corner to give the visitors a 28th-minute lead.
Mourinho rang the changes at halftime but Cremonese doubled their advantage four minutes after the break. David Okereke raced down the right flank and rolled the ball across for Charles Pickel, who tried to flick it on to Frank Tsadjout but it was deflected into his own net by Roma defender Mehmet Çelik to send the 200 traveling fans wild.
Andrea Belotti pulled one back for Roma in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Fiorentina avenged its league loss Torino by beating it 2-1 in the quarterfinals.
After chances for both teams in Florence, the breakthrough was made in the 65th minute. A corner was taken short to Aleksa Terzic, who whipped in a cross for Luka Jovic to head in at the far post.
Jonathan Ikone sealed the result — and a place in the final four — with a fine strike into the bottom right corner in the final minute after good work from Arthur Cabral.
Cabral also hit the crossbar in stoppage time before Yann Karamoh pulled one back for Torino to set up a nervy final three minutes.
Torino had won 1-0 at Fiorentina in Serie A less than two weeks ago.
Source: Arab News
BDST: 1030 HRS, FAB 02, 2023