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Verona inflict first loss on Mourinho’s Roma

By AFP
19 September 2021   |   7:29 pm
Roma dropped their first points in Serie A under Jose Mourinho on Sunday as Verona came from behind to earn new coach Igor Tudor a 3-2 victory on his debut.

Roma’s Portugal’s coach Jose Mourinho (R) celabrates with Roma’s Uruguay’s defender Matias Vina (R) during the Italian Serie A football match between AS Roma and Sassuolo at the Olympic stadium in Rome on September 12, 2021. (Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP)

Roma dropped their first points in Serie A under Jose Mourinho on Sunday as Verona came from behind to earn new coach Igor Tudor a 3-2 victory on his debut.

Lorenzo Pellegrini’s clever backheel flick gave visitors Roma a half-time lead in the pouring rain as they sought a fourth successive win to start the season.

Antonin Barak equalised for Verona shortly after the interval and Gianluca Caprari put the hosts ahead with a precise finish five minutes later.

Ivan Ilic turned a Pellegrini cross into his own goal to bring Roma level before the hour, but Davide Faraoni’s brilliant volley secured the win for Verona to halt a run of three straight losses.

“I knew their qualities, even before the change in coach,” Mourinho told DAZN.

“They’d already posed big problems to their opponents. And when there’s a coaching change there’s often a reaction mentally, it can happen.”

“There’s nothing to reproach the players for over their attitude. But we didn’t adapt well to their style of play, we lost individual battles and they had more intensity,” he added.

Roma’s city rivals Lazio needed a late goal from Danilo Cataldi to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to Cagliari.

Ciro Immobile struck for the fifth time in four games as Lazio went ahead just before the break.

Joao Pedro’s looping header pegged Lazio back right at the start of the second half, with Keita Balde then firing home against his former club to put Cagliari on top.

But the Sardinian club couldn’t hold on for victory in Walter Mazzarri’s first game in charge as Cataldi fired into the top corner seven minutes from time to rescue Lazio.

Venezia’s first Serie A home match since the 2001-02 season ended in a crushing 2-1 loss to Spezia.

Simone Bastoni curled in a sensational effort as Spezia grabbed an early lead at the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo, an intriguing ground set on the south-eastern tip of Venice’s main archipelago.

Pietro Ceccaroni headed Venezia level on the hour but Mehdi Bourabia’s brilliant injury-time strike from distance claimed Thiago Motta’s Spezia a first win.

AC Milan will attempt to bounce back from defeat in their first Champions League match since 2014 when they travel to fierce rivals Juventus later on Sunday.

Juve are trying to build on their 3-0 win at Malmo and crack Milan’s perfect start to the league campaign.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side were considered the pre-season favourites for the Scudetto but the sudden departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and only one draw to show from three matches has left them in disarray.

Juve are second from bottom and nine points behind defending champions and league leaders Inter Milan.