The best season yet of the Roma Women journey could conclude with a clean sweep of domestic trophies as they bring the curtains down with a Coppa Italia final against Juventus on Sunday.
It has been quite the extraordinary season for Roma, who beat Juventus on penalties to win the Supercoppa Italiana in November and went on to finish an incredible 13 points above them to win Serie A Femminile for the first time.
One week after the league ended with a rotated Roma side suffering a 5-2 defeat to Juventus, the target now is to win the third and final domestic trophy on offer against the same opponents in order to cap off what has been a phenomenal first season of the professional era in Italian women’s football (and fifth overall of the Roma Women project).
Roma have reached the final thanks to topping a group above Como and Arezzo, then thrashing Pomigliano and completing a comeback against AC Milan. Juventus, for their part, finished above Cittadella and Brescia in a group before advancing in the knockout stage at the expense of Chievo and Inter.
The 2023 final is a repeat of last year’s, which Juventus won 2-1 in what were heartbreaking circumstances for Roma – who had been in front from the 23rd minute until the 80th. Now, the Giallorosse, who lifted this trophy for the first time in 2021 at the end of Betty Bavagnoli’s spell as head coach, are aiming to reclaim the trophy.
If they can manage it, they will have clinched all three domestic trophies on offer across 2022-23, taking each out of Juventus’ own hands.
It won’t be easy, though. Despite the success in the Supercoppa Italiana and then the huge margin by which Roma won Serie A Femminile, Juventus won three out of the four league meetings between the two sides this season. Of course, the exception was at the end of the first half of the Scudetto Pool in April, when Roma came from behind twice to win 3-2 after a late Sophie Roman Haug header, which effectively ensured they would be crowned champions the following week.
Some similar emotions wouldn’t go amiss on Sunday. Although, after a relatively inconsequential sequence of games since, perhaps the biggest challenge for Roma will be to prove they have retained their competitive mentality in the five weeks since they earned an unassailable lead in the league standings.
It could also be a distinct objective to try and win the game within 90 minutes; the two times they have previously won cup competitions came after penalty shootouts. But if it does go the distance, at least they know they have strong experience to fall back on as inspiration.
For the match, Alessandro Spugna can call upon a full complement of senior players. At his pre-match press conference, the coach said he had no doubts about what his formation would be.
Reports have indicated that the lineup to combat Juventus’ expected 4-3-3 setup could be a 4-2-3-1 formation consisting of Camelia Ceasar, Elisa Bartoli, Carina Wenninger, Elena Linari, Lucia Di Guglielmo, Manuela Giugliano, Giada Greggi, Annamaria Serturini, Andressa Alves, Emilie Haavi and Valentina Giacinti.
If accurate, it will be the last game of Wenninger’s career ahead of her retirement in the summer. Lifting another trophy at the end of an impressive loan spell from Bayern Munich would be the best way to go out.
In the bigger picture, what a way it would be to go out for the whole squad after a sensational season. But they know by now how tough an opponent Juventus remain, which will make for a closely contested final between the two best teams in the country.
After earning the right to be called the best outright thanks to their league performance, Roma are now aiming to assert their newfound superiority for another piece of silverware.
The game, which is taking place at Salernitana’s stadium, kicks off at 3:30pm UK time on Sunday and will be available to watch live online for free (with an account) on ATA Football.