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Roma warm up for Liverpool clash with 3-0 win over 3-0 SPAL

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Roma’s Italian forward Stephan El Shaarawy (C) runs with the ball during the Italian Serie A football match betweel SPAL and AS Roma at the Paolo Mazza Stadium in Ferrara on April 21, 2018.MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP


Roma warmed up for next week’s Champions League clash with Liverpool by easing past SPAL 3-0 on Saturday to keep their push for elite European football next season on track.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s side have 67 points from 34 games three ahead of city rivals Lazio who can pull level again when they host Sampdoria on Sunday.

A Francesco Vicari own goal gave the Romans a first-half lead in Ferrara with Radja Nainggolan and Patrik Schick adding two more in an eight-minute spell in the second half.

SPAL fell to their first defeat in nine games leaving their top flight survival increasingly in doubt as they sit just one point above the relegation zone.

Di Francesco rotated his side ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final in Anfield with Argentinian left-back Jonathan Silva getting his first start since his January signing.

Roma’s top scorer Edin Dzeko stayed on the bench alongside captain Daniele Di Rossi with the visitors missing three chances in the first half — Stephan El Shaarawy misfiring twice and Lorenzo Pellegrini also missing a third opportunity.

But Pellegrini contributed to the opener, crossing a low ball into the area as Vicari turned into his own net when trying to anticipate Kevin Strootman in a scramble on front of goal.

Nainggolan missed a chance for a second with the Belgian sending the ball into the side netting just before the break.

But seven minutes into the second half Nainggolan broke through sending a diagonial half-volley into the bottom corner, with Pellegrini setting up Schick to head in the third on the hour mark.

It was the first goal for Czech forward Schik since he joined Roma on loan from Sampdoria last August.

Roma’s Champions League rivals Liverpool meanwhile were held 2-2 in Premier League action on Saturday.

Champions Juventus and second-placed Napoli go head-to-head Sunday in a clash which could decide the Serie A title.

Napoli have reduced the deficit to four points on Juventus with five games to play.But history does not favour Maurizio Sarri’s side who have always lost in the Allianz Stadium.


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