Lorenzo Pellegrini

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Serie A roundup: Belotti scores brace, Torino upsets Roma (video)

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Sunday’s Serie A action was marred by alleged racist abuse towards Brescia’s Mario Balotelli by traveling Lazio fans.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

AS Roma 0-2 Torino

Torino captain Andrea Belotti played hero for the visiting side as his two goals at the end of each half gave his mid-table side a crucial victory over fourth-placed AS Roma in Rome on Sunday.

The 26-year-old belted the ball into the roof of the net in first-half stoppage time and fired the ball past Pau Lopez from the spot, awarded after a lengthy VAR review for handball from Chris Smalling, in the 86th minute. 

With seven saves to his name, Salvatore Sirigu played a key role in Torino’s unexpected win.

Sirigu made a near-impossible, point-blank save save from Lorenzo Pellegrini in the second half. In the first half, Torino’s ‘keeper denied Aleksandar Kolarov in spectacular fashion, blocking the defender’s well-placed free-kick with his outstretched arms.

In addition to his two goals, Belotti squandered a pair of other chances to widen his goal count. Early on, the forward hit a routine, diagonal inside the box, only to be denied by the post.

Roma, who despite creating chances, played a lackluster game, hosts top-of-the-table Juventus, while Torino hosts Genoa in the Round of 16 of Coppa Italia on Thursday.


Brescia 1-2 Lazio

SPAL 0-2 Verona

Genoa 2-1 Sassuolo

Transfer rumor roundup: Pellegrini to Man Utd? Dabbur wants Liverpool

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As Arsenal might be losing its head of recruitment, other Premier League movers and shakers are looking to bring big names to the Top Four fight.

If Northern Ireland is the hub for transfer movement, January is going to be a wild ride for one of the Premier League’s flagship clubs.

[ MORE: Atlanta signs Watford teen ]

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that Manchester United is pursuing young Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini in addition to the whispers linking the club to former Liverpool wizard Philippe Coutinho.

Pellegrini, 22, has two goals and six assists for Roma this season, having become a regular call-up for Italy. He reportedly has a $35 million release clause in his contract, though he is cup-tied in the Champions League (Roma next faces Porto).

His 2.6 key passes per game lead Roma and only AC Milan’s Suso and Atalanta’s Alejandro Gomez average more across Serie A. Pellegrini is second on Roma in crosses with 1.5.

How does $115 million sound for an elite 27-year-old defender? That’s what Napoli would reportedly accept from Real Madrid to bring Kalidou Koulibaly west to Spain.

The report, which also links Real with interest in Roma’s Kostas Manolas and Porto’s Eder Miliato, says United remains interested in the player despite the exit of admirer Jose Mourinho.

Anything more than $97 million, the fee Liverpool paid for Virgil Van Dijk, would break the world transfer record for a defender.

Meanwhile, Israeli striker Munas Dabbur is angling to bring his 20-goal season to Anfield.

Reports that Dabbur has turned down a move to Valencia in the hopes of joining Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino at Liverpool.

The Red Bull Salzburg striker has scored half of his 20 goals in the Champions League and Europa League, and has 11 Israel caps.

The cost for Dabbur is said to be $28 million, but is there any guarantee Dabbur can produce at a level that would demand playing time. Divock Origi has three goals in six matches and can hardly get time for the Reds, and Daniel Sturridge has only found 576 minutes in the first half of the season.

Pellegrini: Roma ‘more aware of our capabilities’ after Champions League run

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Lorenzo Pellegrini may be playing next to a Roma legend like Daniele De Rossi, but the 22-year-old has been around Rome long enough to feel like it’s not a big deal.

In fact, back in Rome for a second-straight season following two campaigns at Sampdoria, he’s ready for a bigger role. Pellegrini was a big part of Roma nearly overturning Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League semifinal lead, and the taste is still in his mouth.

[ MORE: PST chats with Roma’s De Rossi ]

“Last year was my first year and it took some time to settle in a big team,” Pellegrini said, speaking to ProSoccerTalk ahead of the club’s International Champions Cup matches in the U.S.
“That’s normal, I know, but I really hope I can devote myself and do even better. The team did something incredible reaching the semifinal. It will be tough to do it, but this year we are more aware of our capabilities.”
“No one expected us we would go that far, and it just gives us more desire to keep on working and improving. We know now even better how to face certain games, like the first leg at Liverpool. We should’ve played a better game but all-in-all last season gives us the confidence to do it again.”

There’s a lot more work to do in the Roma midfield with Radja Nainggolan off to Inter Milan.

And after playing a season next to De Rossi, Pellegrini is prepared to shoulder more of the burden. After all, he spent some time with the club’s academy, looking up at players of De Rossi’s ilk.

“Daniele is a role model not only for me, but for any young football players,” Pellegrini said. “He is a top player and still playing at this level at his age. He’s a special player and professional. It’s easy to play alongside him. The stats are there. His career is there and he’s a good player to move forward.”

Roma at the ICC

Wednesday: vs. Tottenham Hotspur (San Diego)

July 31: vs. Barcelona (Arlington)

Aug. 7: vs. Real Madrid (East Rutherford)