Roma avoid scare against 2nd-tier Lecce to advance in Coppa Italia
ROME (AP) — Roma recovered from an early deficit to beat second-division Lecce 3-1 on Thursday and reach the Italian Cup quarterfinals.
Jose Mourinho's side will play Inter Milan in the final eight.
Tammy Abraham scored one goal and had a hand in Roma's others for Marash Kumbulla and Eldor Shomurodov. Arturo Calabresi had netted a surprise opener for Lecce, the only team outside Serie A to make it to the round of 16.
Lecce midfielder Mario Gargiulo was sent off in the 62nd minute following two bookings in quick succession.
Despite the difference in class between the two sides, Mourinho fielded an almost full-strength team — perhaps wary of the possibility of the match going to extra time, as several of the cup games had done over the past two weeks.
But Lecce took the lead in the 14th minute when Calabresi headed in a corner. The goal was initially ruled out for offside but was awarded on video review.
It took Roma until five minutes before halftime to level. Abraham nodded on a corner and Kumbulla headed it in at far post.
Roma almost took the lead immediately after the break but Lecce substitute goalkeeper Gabriel — who had come on for the injured Marco Bleve in the first half — did well to fingertip Nicolo Zaniolo's effort onto the right post.
The home side did go in front eight minutes later when Abraham gathered the ball with his back to goal and fired into the bottom left corner.
Any chance Lecce had of getting back into the match all but evaporated when Gargiulo was shown two yellow cards in as many minutes.
And Roma sealed the match nine minutes from time. Abraham found Henrikh Mkhitaryan with a delightful long ball and the former Manchester United player did even better to control the ball and flick it on for Shomurodov to race forward and place past Gabriel.
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