Roma Women confirmed their place in the group stage of the 2023-24 Champions League by beating Vorskla Poltava 9-1 on aggregate.
After a 3-0 win last week, the second leg finished as a 6-1 win thanks to goals from Evelyne Viens, Barbara Latorre, Lucia Di Guglielmo (2) and two own goals.
It means Roma will be in the hat for the group stage draw on Friday lunchtime.
Here are some facts to emerge from the second leg against Vorskla.
Roma’s biggest ever UWCL win
Only once before had Roma won a game by a five-goal margin in Europe, when they overcame St. Polten 5-0 in last season’s UWCL group stage.
Thus, this was the first time they had scored six goals in a European game, giving them their biggest scoreline ever in the Champions League.
The same was true of the aggregate score over both legs, bettering last season’s 9-3 total against St. Polten.
Di Guglielmo: A defender at the double
In one fell swoop, Di Guglielmo doubled the number of goals she had ever scored for Roma from two to four.
While it was the 36th example of a player scoring two goals or more for the Giallorosse in a game, it was the first time a defender was responsible for a brace.
Latorre opens account
There was a first goal for Roma for new signing Barbara Latorre, who had previously scored in the Champions League for Barcelona and now has for her new club too.
Latorre is just the second player to get off the mark for Roma in the Champions League before doing so in Serie A Femminile, succeeding Carina Wenninger after the Bayern Munich loanee did so last season.
Pellegrino Cimo comes on for debut
Given the comfortable advantage, Alessandro Spugna was able to give a debut to Giada Pellegrino Cimo from the substitutes’ bench after her development in the youth ranks.
Cimo became the fifth youngest player to ever represent Roma Women at senior level, since her 17th birthday was only a couple of weeks ago.
Only Zara Kramzar has featured for Roma in the Champions League at a younger age than Cimo. Kramzar – who also started against Vorskla – was 16 years and eight months old when she made her bow in the competition against Sparta Prague last season.
Serturini makes first start of season
Still Roma’s all-time leading appearance-maker and goalscorer, Annamaria Serturini isn’t necessarily a regular starter these days, which illustrates the strength in depth at Spugna’s disposal.
That will certainly be useful when balancing between the group stage and domestic action in the upcoming months.
Serturini was selected as a starter for the first time this season in the second leg against Vorskla, benefitting as part of an attacking selection.
Other first starters make assists
There was also a full debut for the season for Kramzar, while Martina Tomaselli made her first Roma start altogether. Both of those players assisted goals.
Kramzar set up Latorre’s goal to make it 2-1 (in splendid fashion after some skill on the flank) and Tomaselli teed up Di Guglielmo’s first goal, which made it 3-1.
Viens scores in first two UWCL games
Thanks to her goals in both legs against Vorskla, summer signing Viens has become the first player to score in her first two Champions League appearances for Roma.
Last season, only Benedetta Glionna and Paloma Lazaro scored in their first Champions League appearances, in the campaign opener against Glasgow City. After joining them on the list of players to score for Roma in the UWCL at the first time of asking, Viens has now set herself apart by becoming the unique player to score on apps number one and two in the competition for the club.
Her next task is to match Valentina Giacinti’s record of scoring in three consecutive UWCL games for Roma (although those were not her first three).
Giugliano and Giacinti preserve UWCL streaks
While Spugna rested and rotated some options as stated, he still sent Manuela Giugliano and Giacinti on as substitutes to ensure they have played some part in every Champions League match Roma have ever been involved in.
Giugliano started all 12 UWCL matches for Roma last season, plus the first leg against Vorskla. Giacinti, meanwhile, started 11 UWCL matches last season and came on in the other, and like Giugliano started the first leg against Vorskla and came on in the second.
Second consecutive group-stage appearance
Last season, Roma were the only side in the group stage never to have been in the Champions League last-16 before, yet they managed to reach the quarter-finals.
This season, they have earned themselves another chance of showcasing their quality on the international stage. Since Juventus were knocked out in qualification, Roma will be Serie A’s only representatives.
Qualifying for the group stage of the UWCL is a notoriously tricky task, so for Roma to have done it twice in succession (having never had the chance before) is an impressive achievement and sets up an exciting season.