Head Coach of AS Roma FC Lucio Spalletti has hailed Francesco Totti as the Muhammad Ali of football after the Roma football legend scored in the Coppa Italia, 25 years after the player made his debut for the club.

Roma defeated Serie B side Cesena 2-1 at the Stadio Olympico with Totti converting a penalty in injury time. Roma managed to scrap past their opponent but they qualified for the Coppa Italia semi final with the result.

Former Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko scored the first goal of the match in the 68th minute. The striker connected to a pass from Stephan El Shaarawy to tap in. Cesena, who fought hard against the Serie A giants, levelled the scoreline just five minutes after Dzeko’s goal. Luca Garritano was the one who almost forced the game beyond regular time with his goal.

Totti, who is 40-years old, sent Roma through as he scored the last kick of the game in the 97th minute from the penalty spot.

“When Totti plays, even in training, he’s the Muhammad Ali of football, always looking to land that knockout blow – to swing the punch no one else can see.

“If he’s on the pitch, it’s a good idea to give him the ball. The more they get him on the ball, the more they’ll get back in return – you get more back from Totti than the bank. He’s the one who brought the fans back into the stadium from the car park last year,” Spalletti said, heaping praises on the player.

Roma are favourites to lift the title which they have lifted nine times. They would battle a compact Lazio side that defeated Inter Milan 2-1 at the San Siro courtesy of goals from Felipe Anderson and Lucas Biglia.