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Two red cards in two minutes and an illegal substitution see Roma crash out of Coppa Italia in comical fashion

Paulo Fonseca’s side have already been forced to forfeit one match this season and would have had to again – but they were beaten

There was a comedy of errors as Roma crashed out of the Coppa Italia on Tuesday night, with the Giallorossi having two red cards in the space of two minutes and making an illegal substitution in extra time.

Roma were beaten 4-2 after extra time at home to Spezia, but would have been eliminated by default even if they had won the game.

After already making five substitutions during the match, manager Paulo Fonseca brought on defender Ibanez for former Chelsea forward Pedro.

Roma seemingly thought they could make an extra change in extra time but, while this rule is common in cup competitions, it is not the case in the Coppa Italia.

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The capital club were in need of defensive reinforcements after defender Gianluca Mancini was shown a second yellow card for a foul in the 91st minute – before goalkeeper Pau Lopez was shown a straight red for another foul, only a minute later.

Spezia capitalised on the red cards to score twice in extra time, including a stunning 119th-minute lob from the edge of the box from Riccardo Saponara.

Manager Fonseca said the substitution mix-up would have to be spoken about internally.

“If there is a problem, we have time to discuss that internally. There is a problem,” the coach told Rai Sport.

Roma have fallen foul of the rulebook before. Earlier in the season, they were handed a 3-0 defeat for a Serie A match against Hellas Verona in which they fielded an ineligible player.

They might have known they were in for a bad night against Spezia when they found themselves 2-0 down after just 15 minutes.

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Andrej Galabinov scored from the spot six minutes in before Saponara doubled the advantage.

Lorenzo Pellegrini and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored to take the game to extra time, but Daniele Verde and Saponara made sure their fightback was for nothing.

“We had a difficult start to the game with the penalty, which was a difficult situation to understand,” Fonseca added.

“After that, we created many chances, missed many goals, and then with two players down, it was difficult.

“This is a tough moment, we wanted to go further in the Coppa Italia, but I cannot complain about the attitude of these lads. We have to prepare the next match.”

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