Published — Thursday 13 December 2012
Last update 13 December 2012 1:08 am
ROME: Roma beat Atalanta 3-0 in the fifth round of the Italian Cup on Tuesday, despite playing most of the second half with 10 men.
The capital side will meet either Udinese or Fiorentina in the next round in January after a fifth consecutive victory in all competitions.
Miralem Pjanic and Pablo Osvaldo put Roma 2-0 up before the break following two howlers from Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli. Mattia Destro extended Roma’s lead shortly after the interval.
Osvaldo swiftly went from hero to villain as he was shown a straight red card 10 minutes into the second period for an elbow on Atalanta defender Carlos Matheu.
“I’m happy with the result,” Roma coach Zdenek Zeman said. “At the beginning we tried to do what we know how to do. In the second half we gave them too much initiative, but what was important was to go through to the next round.
“On every corner Osvaldo had a player on top of him and he wanted to get free. But you shouldn’t act as if you were playing rugby, and to free yourself you have to be cunning. It’s difficult to decide what to do.”
Roma and Atalanta fielded almost full-strength lineups, although Daniele De Rossi was handed a start for the first time in a month for the capital side.
Destro had penalty appeal waved away in the 20th minute when he appeared to be bundled over by Cristiano Raimondi in the area.
However, Roma was in front seconds later when Pjanic’s shot from the edge of the area — which looked like an easy attempt for the Italy under-21 goalkeeper to punch clear — stung Consigli’s palms on the way in.
Roma doubled its lead 10 minutes later when Consigli mistimed his exit to gather Destro’s through ball and Osvaldo tapped it in.
It extended its lead still further six minutes into the second half after Pjanic threaded through a delightful ball for Destro to sidefoot home.
Atalanta was gifted a chance to get back into the game when Osvaldo was rightly sent off for swinging out an elbow after appearing to be being held by Matheu on a corner.
But Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg pulled off a stunning diving save to keep out Facundo Parra’s header from a meter out and Atalanta had a penalty appeal dismissed seconds later when Ivan Piris appeared to handle following Giuseppe De Luca’s header.