Empoli v Roma Women preview: Stage set for semi-final as cup defence continues

Roma Women are switching their attention back to their Coppa Italia defence as they prepare for the first leg of their semi-final with Empoli.

Just two matches separate Roma from the prospect of a second consecutive Coppa Italia final. To get there, last season’s competition winners must beat Empoli over both legs.

After beating them in both league meetings this season, Roma will be optimistic of doing that. But Alessandro Spugna, who managed the opponents last term, will know of the threats that Sunday’s hosts could pose.

The first leg is taking place in Tuscany, with the return fixture in Rome not following until late April. Therefore, both sides could be in different form by then and will be hoping to capitalise on recent positive spells.

Empoli are unbeaten in three games between league and cup. Within that run, they became the first team to beat Juventus in Serie A Femminile in more than two years. In doing so, they opened the door for Roma to enter a potential title race.

The Giallorosse couldn’t quite take full advantage when drawing with the champions – who, meanwhile, beat AC Milan 6-1 in the first leg of the other semi-final on Saturday – the week after, but Roma are still on a seven-game spell without loss since a Supercoppa Italiana defeat to Milan in their first fixture of 2022.

Consequently, Spugna’s side are still chasing down Juventus in the league. And with the Bianconere looking like likely finalists in the cup, Roma will be keen to take the next steps to doing so in this competition too.

Roma taking strong squad to Empoli

Roma have a full senior squad available to them, apart from Nina Kajzba and Claudia Ciccotti. They are each at various stages of the road to recovery after ACL injuries.

The goalscorers for Roma in the last round, against Como, were Emilie Haavi (in both legs), Paloma Lazaro and Valeria Pirone. Lazaro is the only one to have scored since the second leg, reaching a tally of 20 goals for the club with her effort in the draw against Juventus. Now the stage is set for anyone to take the responsibility against Empoli, with much at stake – even if a patient wait will be required.

The first leg kicks off at 1:30pm UK time on Sunday.

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