AS Roma have shown they are the team to beat in the 2022/23 season of the Women’s Serie A and appear poised to crown their efforts with a first-ever league title.
Following the conclusion of an intriguing first phase filled with twists and turns, the Giallorosse are leaders by eight points from defending champions Juventus, having amassed a total of 48 points from 16 wins, no draws and two defeats (18 matches).
But they must keep the momentum going as they navigate an even more rigorous second and final stage of the league comprising eight matches across 10 matchdays against fellow top-five teams, all of whom can still fancy their chances of winning the Scudetto. There are 24 more points on offer.
At the same time, the five teams in the bottom half of the table will be battling to escape relegation.
This new format was introduced as the women’s Serie A became professional this season. The second phase of the Women’s Serie A will start on the weekend of 18-19 March. The calendar has been announced.
POULE SCUDETTO: AS Roma, Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Fiorentina
POULE SALVEZZA: Sassuolo, Pomigliano, Parma, Como and Sampdoria
MATCH DAY 18 RECAP
Although the “poule scudetto” and “poule salvezza” were already sorted by Matchday 14, the last matchday of the first phase served up major movements in the league table.
Fourth-placed Inter Milan swapped places with third-placed Fiorentina after coming from behind to celebrate a vital 3-1 win from an exciting end-to-end battle-for-third-place clash. Tabitha Chawinga scored a brace for the Nerazzure to extend her impressive goal tally to 16 – from 15 matches.
Fiorentina dropped further to fifth place the following day after AC Milan fired four unanswered goals past Como.
In the bottom half of the table, Pomigliano and Sassuolo went head-to-head having the same number of points (14) and the latter emerged with all three points at stake.
NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN?
AS Roma have been on the ascendancy under coach Alessandro Spugna, who took charge in June 2021. After finishing second – five points behind Juventus – last season and qualifying for their first UEFA Women’s Champions League, they are the ones being chased this season, spearheaded in attack by striker Valentina Giacinti, who was signed from AC Milan last summer.
The Giallorosse concluded the first phase with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over a resilient bottom-placed Sampdoria. Substitute Zara Kramzar’s goal five minutes from time meant Roma were able to avoid a goalless draw. They are the only side yet to draw a match, while sharing the least number of defeats (2) with second-placed Juventus.
Interestingly though only the Bianconere have beaten Spugna’s team this season, home and away. AS Roma can however draw motivation from their penalty-shootout Supercoppa victory over Juventus in November 2022, even as their fairytale season also extends to the UEFA Women’s Champions League, where they made history by reaching the quarter-final on their debut.
AS Roma have not exactly swept past their opponents in all their victories, with Spugna admitting that some of the wins came with suffering and frustration, but on the field of play too the Giallorosse are undoubtedly the best side in the league at the moment. With 43 goals they are the third best attacking side so far, behind Juventus (46) and Inter Milan (45), and they have also conceded the least number of goals (12).
AS Roma have led the league table more times than any other team. They were on top for the first time after Matchday 2, then they suffered their first defeat of the season on Matchday 3 and dropped to fifth. The Giallarosse then returned to the top after Matchday 7 and haven’t looked back since.
With three weeks at the top to their name, Inter Milan are next in line – being at the top of the league alone for the first time in their Women’s Serie A history. Rita Guarino’s Nerazzure were the last team to be beaten in the league and this happened when Roma came visiting on Matchday 8.
No one would have guessed that the almighty Juventus would taste top spot just once in 18 weeks and that was after Matchday 1. Fiorentina, coached by the legendary Italian striker Patrizia Panico, were also league leaders once. Meanwhile AC Milan have not gone higher than fourth place this season.
END OF AN ERA?
After winning the league five consecutive times since their debut season, Juventus have found themselves in unfamiliar territory this season, where their destiny is out of their hands.
While having two defeats in a season is nothing out of the ordinary, even though there are still ten more matches to go, Juventus have never had up to four draws in a season, three of which were at home.
Although it would be reckless to rule out a possible comeback for Joe Montemurro’s side, they have shown unusual inconsistency this season. Surprisingly, their defeats have come at the hands of AC Milan, home and away.
With 40 points, Juventus are currently five points ahead of third-placed Inter Milan, who are one point above AC Milan and Fiorentina – both on 34 points.
The battle for survival is poised to be fierce. With their 2-0 victory over Pomigliano on Matchday 18, Sassuolo currently lead the “poule salvezza” with 17 points, three ahead of Pomigliano. Then four points separate Pomigliano from bottom-placed Sassuolo, who have lost the most matches so far this season (14).
In the second phase, the top 5 will play against each other for the title, while the bottom 5 will play against each other to determine the team that will be relegated.
On each matchday, four matches will be played in each poule, while two teams – one per poule – will rest. The points obtained in the second phase will be added to those accumulated in the first.
In the end, the top two teams will qualify for the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the last team will be directly relegated to the Serie B, while the penultimate team faces a play-off against the runners-up in the Serie B championship.
The second phase of the season will run from 18-19 March to 27-28 May.
Credit: AIPS Media
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