Roma beats Spal 3-0 ahead of Liverpool semi in CL

Roma's Patrick Schick, left, scores his side's third goal during a Serie A soccer match between Spal and AS Roma, at Paolo Mazza Stadium in Ferrara, Italy, Saturday, April 21, 2018. (Elisabetta Baracchi/ANSA via AP)

By DANIELLA MATAR

Associated Press

MILAN (AP) Roma saw off relegation-threatened Spal 3-0 in Serie A on Saturday and stayed confident for the trip to Liverpool for the first leg of the Champions League semifinals.

Bottom side Benevento was 12 points from avoiding the drop after stunning AC Milan 1-0 and, with four rounds remaining, could still mathematically achieve safety.

While trying to win the Champions League, Roma is also trying to secure qualification for next season, and moved three points above fourth-placed Lazio, which hosts Sampdoria on Sunday.

The top four teams from Serie A qualify for the Champions League.

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco rested key players for Tuesday's match, including Alessandro Florenzi, Edin Dzeko and Cengiz Under.

It took half an hour for Roma to break the deadlock when Francesco Vicari turned Lorenzo Pellegrini's cross into his own net as he tried to prevent a Kevin Strootman tap-in.

Radja Nainggolan doubled Roma's lead six minutes into the second half after a free kick was cleared only to the edge of the area.

The result was sealed shortly afterward when Patrik Schick headed in Pellegrini's cross for his first league goal for the capital club.

Spal lost for the first time since Feb. 18 - a run of two wins and six draws - and was just one point above the relegation zone.

Benevento knew it needed to win at Milan to avoid certain relegation.

The last time the sides met, Benevento goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli sensationally headed in a stoppage-time equalizer to secure his side its first point of the season in a 2-2 draw.

It took a shock lead at San Siro in the 29th minute when Nicolas Viola's throughball sent Pietro Iemmello clear and he slotted past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Milan should have leveled an hour in but Franck Kessie's effort came off the crossbar.

Milan strived for the equalizer and Benevento goalkeeper Christian Puggioni did well to parry Patrick Cutrone's header from point-blank range. Giacomo Bonaventura and Nikola Kalinic also had chances but their efforts were blocked by the visiting defense.

Benevento endured the last 10 minutes with 10 men after forward Cheick Diabate was sent off following a second yellow card.

Fiorentina surprisingly fell at Sassuolo 1-0 after playing an hour with 10 men.

Midifielder Bryan Dabo was sent off for a second booking, tugging back Domenico Berardi on the half hour after being shown a first yellow card for a foul on Simone Missiroli in the sixth minute.

Sassuolo took the lead four minutes from the break with a magnificent curler from Matteo Politano into the top far corner from the edge of the area.

A second successive win for Sassuolo all but guaranteed it safety, nine points clear of the drop zone.

Fiorentina remained three points behind AC Milan in the race for the final Europa League spot.

Updated April 21, 2018

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