Three friendlies for Roma in Portugal: full agenda
The schedule is completed. The team is arrived yesterday in Portugal: today they will play the first match against Cadiz, then Casa Pia and Waalwijk
The last piece fell into place: Roma announced the third and final friendly of the winter training camp in Algarve, against the Dutch of Rooms Katholieke Combinatie Waalwijk, which stands for Roman Catholic Association, usually abbreviated to RKW. It will be played at 3 p.m. Portuguese time (4 p.m. in Italy) at the Estadio Municipal in Albufeira. The facility was already used for preparations this summer, and for 3 of the 4 friendlies. It is a small facility, with 3,500 seats, only one grandstand and an athletic track. So that for the most important match of the Portuguese tour, against Sporting Lisbon, Roma had moved some 40 kilometers, to the Estadio Algarve, which was built for the 2004 European Championship just outside Faro. This time there will be no need, since the club, with less than a month to go before the resumption of the championship, has opted for opponents who are not top-notch. Although they are all playing in the top league, the three sparring partners: Cadiz (today's opponent, after only one day of training on the Atlantic shore) is back in La Liga in 2020, but will have to struggle to stay there, as they are currently penultimate at 11, like Sevilla, with Celta Vigo and Espanyol at 12, and only Elche behind (Pastore's team, which has played just 4' this year, and is now out of the squad, has 4 draws and 10 defeats in 14 games). Casa Pia, on the other hand, is doing well beyond all expectations: named after a charity institution, based in Lisbon, last year they finished second in the Portuguese B behind Rio Ave, returning to Primeira Liga after 83 years. After 13 matchdays it is fifth in the standings. Benfica is now in the runaway with Porto at +6. Then there is Braga, while Sporting Lisbon has only 2 points more than the Giallorossi's opponent, which left behind more important realities such as Vitoria Guimaraes and Boavista. It is a more anonymous placement for RKC Waalwijk. The Eredivisie standings are led by Feyenoord, the losing Conference finalists. Then Ajax and Psv are side by side, and followed by Az Alkmaar and Twente, Roma's opponents - who are based in a town of not even 50,000 inhabitants, closer to the Belgian border than to the capital - are ninth, with the same 17 points in 14 matchdays as Nec Nijmegen. There are no new faces in the roster since, in the summer, Danish Odgaard, who had played in the Inter Primavera team with Zaniolo, returned on the end of his loan to Sassuolo, which sold him to Az. Waalwijk's top scorer, with five goals, is 30-year-old Bel Hassani, a Moroccan born in Rotterdam, who left the Netherlands only to do a few months between Qatar and the Emirates. But Roma will have to train the offensive mechanisms more than anything else.
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