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Inter v. Getafe, Sevilla v. Roma postponed

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Two Europa League games on Thursday have been postponed due to concerns over coronavirus as Inter Milan v. Getafe and Sevilla v. Roma will not go ahead.

UEFA released a statement on Wednesday confirming the news as Getafe’s president had previously said they would not travel to Milan to play the Round of 16 first leg game, while Roma issued a statement saying the Spanish authorities would not allow their plane to land in Seville.

Here is the statement in full from UEFA on the postponements:

“The UEFA Europa League Round of 16 matches between Sevilla FC (Spain) – AS Roma (Italy) and FC Internazionale (Italy) – Getafe CF (Spain) will not take place as scheduled. As a result of the travelling restrictions between Spain and Italy imposed yesterday by the Spanish authorities, the following UEFA Europa League Round of 16 matches will not take place as scheduled tomorrow, 12 March 2020. Further decisions on the two matches will be communicated in due course.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers have also issued a statement criticizing UEFA after they wanted their game at Olympiacos to be postponed due to Olympiacos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Olympiacos have since confirmed all of their staff and players have been tested and their tests have come back as negative and the game will be played in an empty stadium in Greece.

Coronavirus fears have also caused the postponement of Man City v. Arsenal, and the sequestering of several Arsenal players due to coming in close contact with Marinakis 13 days ago after a Europe League game against Olympiacos.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

Roma will not travel to Sevilla for Europa League game

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AS Roma have confirmed they will not travel to Sevilla for their UEFA Europa League Round of 16 first leg game.

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The Italian side released a statement saying the plane they were flying on from Italy to the Spanish city of Seville was not allowed to land in Spain and they have no way of getting to the game.

“Roma will not travel to Spain for the Europa League match against Sevilla after the plane from Italy was not authorized to land in Spain. More details from UEFA soon.” 

This incident will also surely mean that UEFA will postpone any games involving Italian clubs in European competitions as Inter Milan host Spanish side Getafe on Thursday and Getafe’s president has already refused to take his team to Milan.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have issued a statement criticizing UEFA after they wanted their game at Olympiacos to be postponed due to Olympiacos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis being diagnosed with coronavirus. Olympiacos have since confirmed all of their staff and players have been tested and their tests have come back as negative.

Coronavirus fears have also caused the postponement of Man City v. Arsenal, and the sequestering of several Arsenal players due to coming in close contact with Marinakis 13 days ago after a Europe League game against Olympiacos.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

Smalling considering full-time Roma switch: ‘Long may it continue’

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Manchester United loanee Chris Smalling is talking up life in Rome amidst a possible Serie A Team of the Season campaign.

Smalling had a disappointing 2018/19 season at Old Trafford, so it’s not a surprise that Solskjaer thought he could do better than the 30-year-old.

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Instead, Smalling’s numbers are close to that of record-signing Harry Maguire in a Serie A league with slightly more scoring. Smalling ranks in Italy’s top ten for interceptions (2.2), clearances (4.5) and blocks (1.2).

Roma boss Paulo Fonseca wants the player to stay, as i Lupi are fifth in Serie A and Smalling when has played nearly every minute when healthy. Smalling told our friends Sky Sports that he has “an interesting decision to make.”

“Some of the other players said if you really hit the ground running, the love that you can have in this city is unbelievable. That’s really what I’ve felt and so have my family. Long may it continue.”

His age makes it tricky, but the advanced stats show that Smalling has been a very effective Premier League center back for four of his last six seasons.

Smalling may want to leave if Solskjaer isn’t prepared to hand him regular football, which would be a given in Rome. Now what’s the price tag?

According to WhoScored’s player comparison tool:

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Serie A roundup: Pasalic’s instant impact lifts Atalanta past Roma (video)

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Atalanta’s come-from-behind victory against AS Roma highlights Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Atalanta 2-1 AS Roma

Mario Pasalic scored Atalanta’s winner seconds after taking the field as the home side rallied back against AS Roma 2-1 at Gewiss Stadium.

 

Gianpiero Gasperini consolidate their fourth-place standing in Serie A, going six points clear of Roma and moving eight points behind Lazio, who host top-of-the-table Inter Milan on Sunday.

“This is an important victory,” Atalanta coach Gasperini said. “Against a side like Roma this advantage is not definitive. They are a strong team, but in us there is the belief that we can finish in front.”

The victory proves to be a massive confidence booster for Atalanta ahead of their first Round of 16 Champions League bout in club’s history. La Dea host Valenica at the San Siro – not at their 21,300-seater home – midweek.

As the first 45 minutes came to an end, Edin Dzeko took advantage of Jose Luis Palomino’s blunder by rifling the ball past Pierluigi Golini. The Bosnian striker is the first Roma player to reach 10 goals this season.

Roma’s spirit-lifter would be nullified five minutes into the second half as Palomino made up for his error with a volley of his own to equal the scoreline.

Elsewhere in Serie A 

Lecce 2-1 SPAL

Bologna 0-3 Genoa

Roma signs Barcelona youngster Carles Perez

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Barcelona has offloaded 21-year-old winger Carles Perez to AS Roma a day before the transfer window shuts on an initial loan deal with a mandatory option to buy this summer.

The clubs confirmed the deal on Thursday morning, with the 21-year-old eventually costing Roma $12.6 million plus another $5 million in potential add-ons at the end of the season, in addition to a $1 million loan fee to cover the next six months. According to Spanish journalist Alfredo Martinez, there is no buy-back clause for Barcelona in the new deal, which was reportedly a sticking point for the La Liga giants throughout negotiations, but they appear to have conceded in that department to push a deal over the line.

However, there was one slight discrepancy in the deal announcements. Barcelona’s release states that the option to buy is mandatory at the end of the season, while Roma contends that the option to buy is only mandatory “based on the achievement of certain sporting targets.”

Roma’s need arose on the wing after the loss of Nicolo Zaniolo to a torn ACL, with the 20-year-old star going down earlier this month.

Perez was used heavily early in the season at Barcelona, scoring a goal and assisting three more in early La Liga action, but his time significantly waned as September ended and Lionel Messi returned to full fitness. The rise of Ansu Fati also cut into Perez’s playing time as the 17-year-old became the one to benefit most from Ousmane Dembele’s struggles with injury.

Still, it’s somewhat surprising that Barcelona has offloaded an attacker given that Luis Suarez and Dembele are both on the shelf. Dembele is expected back in mid-February while Suarez is likely done for much of the season if not the entire remaining campaign.