Lukaku and Dybala score as Roma beats Cremonese 2-1

Roma's Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring a goal during the round of 16 clash between Cremonese and As Roma at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy
Romelu Lukaku and Paulo Dybala each scored and Roma came back from a goal down to beat Cremonese 2-1 on Wednesday and set up a derby with Lazio in the Italian Cup quarterfinals.

Mourinho’s Roma side made it into the next stages of the Italian Cup qualifying rounds after defeating Cremonese 2-1 on Wednesday night to set up the Derby della Capitale against Lazio on Tuesday, January 9.

Despite their ever-present injury concerns, Jose Mourinho would be so proud to have come out of that situation with a scrapped winner at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Giallorossi were 1-0 down for a fair amount of time in the game, but Paulo Dybala’s introduction changed things.

Paulo Dybala came off the bench to score the equalizer, then an in-form Romelu Lukaku scored from the spot to guarantee the Giallorossi’s tickets to the quarterfinals.

Considering those injuries mentioned earlier, the only nominal starters watching from the bench today were Paulo Dybala, Rui Patricio, and Nicola Zalewski.

No matter who Mourinho selected, Roma didn’t have the luxury of overlooking Cremonese, who not only ousted the Giallorossi from the Coppa last season but scored a 2-1 league win last February. And that familiarity bred contempt early in this match, with Cremonese drawing four yellow cards in the first 16 minutes.

With his club down 1-0 to a plucky Cremonese side, Mourinho left nothing to chance in the second half, bringing on Paulo Dybala, Rasmus Kristensen, and Nicola Zalewski to start the second stanza.

Mourinho’s moves nearly paid immediate dividends when Dybala set up Lukaku in the area, only to be denied a Valentin Antov blocked shot.

With time ticking away and Roma growing increasingly desperate, the capital club was denied by the woodwork again after Stephan El Shaarawy cut in from the left flank and fired a daisy cutter toward the right post, striking the upright and missing an equalizer by a matter of inches.

Dybala, El Shaarawy, and Leandro Paredes all had clean looks at goal in the second half, only to come up short of the mark, but you can only hold the Giallorossi down for so long.

After settling a beautiful ball from the defense, Dybala kicked off a three-touch sequence with Sardar Azmoun and Romelu Lukaku, with the Iranian striker taking the feed from Dybala before playing it through to Lukaku, who slotted it home with ease to level the match.

While Roma did well to equalize, the pressure wasn’t off—the last thing they needed was for this match to go to extra time. And try as they might to find a match-winner, the Giallorossi needed a helping hand from the officials, who awarded Roma a penalty after Leonardo Spinazzola was taken down in the box.

Wasting no time, Dybala stepped up to the spot and absolutely buried the ball past Jungdal to give Roma the victory.

Thanks to this victory, Roma advances to the quarterfinals, where they’ll meet Lazio on January 8th

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