2021-22 Italian Serie A
  • Chris Smalling (6')
  • Ibañez (56')
  • Felix Afena-Gyan (90'+3')

Roma climb above Juventus after win over Spezia

Chris Smalling and Roger Ibanez celebrate after scoring a goal for Roma against Spezia. Getty Images

Two goals from defenders earned AS Roma a 2-0 victory over Spezia on Monday, a result that saw Jose Mourinho's side climb above Juventus into sixth place in the Serie A standings.

Looking to get back to winning ways after losing their previous two league matches, centre-back Chris Smalling headed Roma into a sixth-minute lead at the Stadio Olimpico.

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English striker Tammy Abraham then hit the crossbar with an unorthodox chest towards goal as Roma pressed for a second, with the same player again going close early in the second half.

The second goal came in the 56th minute, also from a corner, as Roger Ibanez headed home to put the game to bed.

The victory was tarnished somewhat when 18-year-old Roma substitute Felix Afena-Gyan was sent off late on after picking up two bookings as the hosts moved to 28 points from 17 games above Juve on goal difference. Spezia stay 17th on 12 points.

Mourinho was furious with the referee after seeing Afena-Gyan bizarrely dismissed, with the second of the Ghanaian teenager's bookings brandished for handball as he ran through to score what he thought was Roma's third in the 93rd minute.

The Portuguese coach was also not too happy with his team's overall performance throughout the match.

"I liked the two goals from a corner because yesterday we trained on this for 20, 25 minutes," Mourinho told Sky Sport Italia.

"I like the result but not the game or how we played. We were in control in the first half but we lost a lot of easy balls.

"We brought Spezia back into the game, when it was not difficult to close it."