Milan (AFP) – A last-gasp penalty from Francesco Totti fired Roma into an Italian Cup semi-final with city rivals Lazio after a shaky 2-1 win over Cesena on Wednesday.
Totti was given a rare start by Roma coach Luciano Spalletti, but it took the Serie A title challengers until the 68th minute to hit the mark, Edin Dzeko making up for a series of glaring misses by sweeping Stephan El Shaarawy’s pass from the left past onrushing goalkeeper Federico Agliardi.
Second division Cesena were given a chance to pull level when Roma ‘keeper Alisson, standing in for Wojciech Szczesny, almost collided with defender Kostas Manolas as he rose to challenge for a high ball, spilling it into the path of a thankful Luca Garritano who fired home from the edge of the area on 73 minutes.
Totti came close with a superb free-kick effort from outside the area that Agliardi did well to palm away.
The match looked to be heading for extra time until Totti, playing his 25th and likely last season with the capital club, stepped up to beat Agliardi from the spot in the seventh minute of added-on time.
In the other semi-final holders Juventus, who eliminated last year’s finalists AC Milan, meet title challengers Napoli.