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Roma recovers to beat 2nd-division Lecce 3-1 in Italian Cup

Roma recovered from an early deficit to beat second-division Lecce 3-1 on Thursday and reach the Italian Cup quarterfinals.

José Mourinho’s side will face his former team Inter Milan — which he led to the treble of Serie A, the Italian Cup and the Champions League in 2010.

Tammy Abraham scored one goal and had a hand in Roma’s others for Marash Kumbulla and Eldor Shomurodov. Arturo Calabresi had netted a surprise opener for Lecce, the only team outside Serie A to make it to the round of 16.

Roma's head coach Jose Mourinho, left, holds the during the Italian Cup soccer match between Roma and Lecce at Rome's Olympic stadium, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)

Lecce midfielder Mario Gargiulo was sent off in the 62nd minute following two bookings in quick succession.

Mourinho has returned to San Siro only twice as coach since leaving Inter, and both time were against AC Milan.

“I don't know how I'll feel. I have to prepare myself emotionally as I did for the match in Rome against Inter: prepare myself emotionally and try not to have emotions,” Mourinho said. “I returned to San Siro to play against Milan and they insulted me in every way possible. The fans won't do that this time. I'll go there with the intention obviously to do my part with my Roma and certainly the Inter fans will do their part for their team, their players, their coach — which is not me ... but people don't forget.”

Roma's Tammy Abraham, left, celebrates after scoring during the Italian Cup soccer match between Roma and Lecce at Rome's Olympic stadium, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)

Despite the difference in class between the two sides, Mourinho fielded an almost full-strength team — perhaps wary of the possibility of the match going to extra time, as several of the cup games had done over the past two weeks.

But Lecce took the lead in the 14th minute when Calabresi headed in a corner. The goal was initially ruled out for offside but was awarded on video review.

It took Roma until five minutes before halftime to level. Abraham nodded on a corner and Kumbulla headed it in at far post.

Lecce's Arturo Calabresi, right, is cheered by teammates after scoring during the Italian Cup soccer match between Roma and Lecce at Rome's Olympic stadium, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)

Roma almost took the lead immediately after the break but Lecce substitute goalkeeper Gabriel — who had come on for the injured Marco Bleve in the first half — did well to fingertip Nicolò Zaniolo’s effort onto the right post.

The home side did go in front eight minutes later when Abraham gathered the ball with his back to goal and fired into the bottom left corner.

Any chance Lecce had of getting back into the match all but evaporated when Gargiulo was shown two yellow cards in as many minutes.

Lecce's Arturo Calabresi, left, scores during the Italian Cup soccer match between Roma and Lecce at Rome's Olympic stadium, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)

And Roma sealed the match nine minutes from time. Abraham found Henrikh Mkhitaryan with a delightful long ball and the former Manchester United player did even better to control the ball and flick it on for Shomurodov to race forward and place past Gabriel.

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Roma's head coach Jose Mourinho waits for the start of the Italian Cup soccer match between Roma and Lecce at Rome's Olympic stadium, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)

Roma's Marash Kumbulla, center, scores during the Italian Cup soccer match between Roma and Lecce at Rome's Olympic stadium, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)

Roma's Marash Kumbulla, center, celebrates after scoring during the Italian Cup soccer match between Roma and Lecce at Rome's Olympic stadium, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)

Roma's players celebrate at the end of the Italian Cup soccer match between Roma and Lecce at Rome's Olympic stadium, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)