Roma

Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Serie A: Turkish youngster Under fires Roma back into 3rd

Leave a comment

ROME (AP) The rapid development of 20-year-old Turkey winger Cengiz Under is playing a big role in Roma’s revival.

Under scored his fourth goal in three matches and Roma won at Udinese 2-0 for its third straight win in Serie A on Saturday.

Roma moved into third place, two points ahead of Inter Milan, which lost at Genoa 2-0.

It’s a drastic improvement from where Roma was a month ago, when the Giallorossi were mired in a five-match winless streak that risked dropping them out of contention for the Champions League places.

“We’re getting back on track to where we were in the first half of the season,” forward Diego Perotti said.

Roma went ahead when Under unleashed a powerful, rising shot from beyond the area in the 70th.

Perotti sealed the victory in the 90th with an angled effort after Udinese gave the ball away near midfield.

Under is having a breakout month.

First, he scored after 43 seconds when Roma ended a five-match winless streak by beating Hellas Verona 1-0. Then he had a brace and also delivered an assist in a 5-2 win over Benevento last weekend.

All this after not being involved in any goals in his first 14 matches with Roma.

“He plays far more for the team than himself,” Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said of Under. “His greatest strength is being able to prepare his shot with great speed, making him difficult to close down.”

Added Perotti, “He’s very humble and he doesn’t speak Italian yet but he’s well behaved and is a great kid. He deserves all of this.”

On Wednesday, Roma visits Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

“We’ve got to make the most of the fact they’ve had a winter break and might not be match fit,” Di Francesco said of the Ukrainian side. “They have a lot of quality in attack and are dangerous, but we shouldn’t change our attitude.”


Inter’s defense was in shambles against Genoa.

The hosts took the lead before the break when a failed clearance attempt from Milan Skriniar ricocheted off of a stunned Andrea Ranocchia, who was charged with an own goal.

Then former Inter striker Goran Pandev was left unmarked to score from the center of the area midway through the second half.

Inter hasn’t won at regional rival Genoa in more than seven years.

Chievo Verona took a big step toward avoiding relegation with a 2-1 win over visiting Cagliari.

Emanuele Giaccherini and Roberto Inglese scored late for the hosts before Leonardo Pavoletti pulled one back for Cagliari.

Chievo moved up to 14th, level on points with Cagliari, eight points above the drop zone.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chelsea still pursuing Roma duo, and more

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chelsea is looking to make a big transfer splash as it searches for potential replacements for Michy Batshuayi and David Luiz.

According to multiple reports, Chelsea is attempting a double signing from AS Roma, forward Edin Dzeko and midfielder Emerson Palmieri. The Brazilian left-back is rated by Roma at $30.5 million but he could join Chelsea on loan. However the interest in Dzeko is much newer, and it’s unclear whether Roma would allow Dzeko to leave, especially in the middle of the season.

[READ: MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker]

With Roma preparing to face Inter Milan this weekend, talks between the two clubs have been put on hold until next week.

Dzeko’s agent confirmed that Conte is interested in the Bosnia and Herzegovina international but stated Dzeko’s desire is to remain at Roma.

After failing to beat out Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup for Manchester City, it would be interesting to see Dzeko give the Premier League another go, although he’d likely play second-fiddle again, this time to Alvaro Morata.

Here are some more transfer rumors from around Europe and the Premier League:

(more…)

Roma-Chelsea reports could see Dzeko, Batshuayi… and Sturridge on the move

Angelo Carconi/ANSA via AP
Leave a comment

Here’s a wild rumor out of Italy, as Gianluca Di Marzio has UEFA Champions League Round of 16 sides Chelsea and Roma working out a big transfer.

[ MORE: PST chats with Dzeko in July ]

Again, before we lay it out, we know that both clubs would not be able to use Cup-tied players in the UCL and that gives the rumor its unrealistic bent.

Chelsea reportedly is willing to send $62 million and striker Michy Batshuayi on loan to Roma in exchange for Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmeiri. Reports say Roma is holding out for another $20 million, potentially add-ons.

Dzeko isn’t producing at his otherworldly rate of last season, but is far and away i Lupi’s leading scorer and bagged a brace against Chelsea in the UCL. And Batshuayi scored in Chelsea’s first two matches of the tournament.

There is something to the rumor, at least in terms of Emerson. The London Evening Standard quotes the player’s agent as saying talks are ongoing and the move is a “dream” one for Emerson, who is behind Aleksandar Kolarov on the left back depth chart since returning from injury.

Roma would need a UCL-eligible center forward, as Czech youngster Patrik Schick has been unable to find his scoring boots since a summer move from Sampdoria. Football Italia says, sensationally, that Roma would use some of the money to pry Daniel Sturridge from Liverpool.

Maybe the Emerson move goes through, but the striker swap feels like a headscratcher for Dzeko and Chelsea.

Drunk New Year’s posts result in Nainggolan being dropped

Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images
Leave a comment

ROME (AP) A series of drunken, live Instagram postings on New Year’s Eve has resulted in midfielder Radja Nainggolan being fined and dropped from Roma’s squad for Saturday’s match against Atalanta.

Coach Eusebio Di Francesco says that “In line with the club’s code of conduct, which I fully endorse and the player himself accepts, Radja Nainggolan will not be selected for tomorrow’s game against Atalanta.”

Di Francesco adds, “This is a policy that applies across the board, should anyone from AS Roma or representing Roma make certain mistakes that are no longer acceptable. … Nainggolan knows what he did. After all, he made the video by himself and he has assumed responsibility.”

Nainggolan later issued an apology for the videos, in which he is seen drinking, smoking and playing paddle tennis. At one point in the videos, Nainggolan says he’s “completely drunk.”

Details of the fine were not disclosed.

Nainggolan has been a key player for Roma for five seasons, known for both his offensive and defensive skills and his stamina. His absence against Atalanta is problematic because captain Daniele De Rossi is unavailable in midfield due to a minor muscular injury.

Fourth-place Roma needs a win over Atalanta to get back into the title race.

Mohamed Salah claims African Player of the Year

Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Liverpool and Egypt star Mohamed Salah has been named the African Player of the Year for 2017.

The 25-year-old attacker beat out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund/Gabon) and club teammate Sadio Mane (Senegal) for the honor.

[ MORE: Grading every PL club’s festive season ]

He’s the second-straight Premier League player to win the honor after Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City. Aubameyang won the award in 2015, breaking Yaya Toure’s four-peat.

Salah has 23 goals and eight assists in 29 matches for Liverpool since arriving from AS Roma this summer (he scored 10 goals and added nine assists between January and the end of i Lupi’s season).

He also scored the World Cup clinching goal for Egypt in World Cup qualifying.