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Roma hire Paulo Fonseca from Shakhtar Donetsk

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ROME (AP) Roma has hired Paulo Fonseca as coach from Shakhtar Donetsk to try leading the club back into the Champions League.

Roma says the Portuguese coach signed a two-year contract, with an option for a third year.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule

The club’s American president, Jim Pallotta, says Fonseca has “a winning mentality and a reputation for bold, attacking football that will excite our fans.”

Roma placed sixth in Serie A after Eusebio Di Francesco was fired in March and Claudio Ranieri took over as interim coach.

Fonseca led Shakhtar to three straight league and cup doubles in Ukraine and leaves behind a spot in the group stage of the Champions League.

Roma starts in the Europa League qualifying rounds on July 25.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Serie A: Atalanta, Inter snatch UCL places on wild final day

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s final-day action in Italy’s top flight…

[ MORE: Chelsea, Real Madrid remain $38 million apart on Eden Hazard deal ]

Sampdoria (9th) 2-0 Juventus (1st)

With their eighth straight scudetto long since clinched, Juve slumped their way to the season’s finish line without a win in their final five games (three draws), including Sunday’s 2-0 loss away to Sampdoria. It was 0-0 for 83 minute, until Gregoire Defrel (84th) and Gianluca Caprari (91st) bagged late goals for the victory.

Atalanta (3rd) 3-1 Sassuolo (11th)

Atalanta completed their fairytale season and finished third in a hugely dramatic, chaotic way befitting their rapid rise to Champions League relevance. They finished 17th and avoided relegation by three points in 2015.

First, they fell behind when Domenico Berardi scored in the 19th minute. They were level by the 35 minute, thanks to Duvan Zapata’s equalizer. Then, things got weird.

Berardi was sent off during a massive skirmish between the two sides while leaving the field for halftime. With the score 1-1, and both Inter Milan and AC Milan ahead after 51 minutes, Atalanta were headed for a fifth-place finish.

Alejandro Gomez put Atalanta ahead three minutes later, though, and Mario Pasalic doubled the advantage in the 65th.

Inter Milan (4th) 2-1 Empoli (18th – relegated)

At that 51-minute mark, Keita Balde’s opening goal put Inter ahead of Empoli, but the visitors equalized in the 76th, briefly dropping them to fifth.

That lasted all of five minutes, as Radja Nainggolan put Luciano Spaletti’s side back in front, where they would finish the season. The top-four finished the day exactly as it began — Atalanta in 3rd and Inter Milan in 4th, each on 69 points.

SPAL (13th) 2-3 AC Milan (5th)

For those five glorious minutes, AC Milan were headed back to the Champions League for the first time since 2014, and were set to do so at the expense of their local rivals.

Finishing fourth, but behind Inter, would have been fine, but finishing fourth and ahead of Inter would have been a dreamland outcome. Alas, it’s a fifth-place finish on 68 points and another season in the Europa League for the Rossoneri.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Bologna (10th) 3-2 Napoli (2nd – Saturday)
Frosinone (19th – relegated) 0-0 Chievo (20th – relegated – Saturday)
Roma (6th) 2-1 Parma (14th)
Torino (7th) 3-1 Lazio (8th)
Cagliari (15th) 1-2 Udinese (12th)
Fiorentina (16th) 0-0 Genoa (17th)

La Liga and Serie A: Godin’s Atleti goodbye, Real lose again; Roma beat Juve

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…

[ MORE: Final Premier League standings of the 2018-19 season ]

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Sevilla

Captain Diego Godin made the 388th appearance of his nine-year Atleti career on Sunday, marking the final time he’ll take the field in the Spanish capital for Los Rojiblancos. Godin was honored by a capacity crowd, all on their feet, after the game.

Koke put second-place Atleti ahead in the 30th minute. Pablo Sarabia drew sixth-place Sevilla level in the 70th.

Real Sociedad 3-1 Real Madrid

Real Madrid suffered their 11th league defeat of the season (17 across all competitions, for the first time since 1998-99) after going 1-0 up in the 6th minute, courtesy of Brahim Diaz, and being reduced to 10 men in the 39th (Jesus Vallejo).

Mikel Merino (26th minute), Joseba Zaldua (57th) and Ander Barrenetxea (67th) got the goals for eighth-place Sociedad.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Barcelona 2-0 Getafe
Valencia 3-1 Alaves
Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Celta Vigo
Leganes 0-2 Espanyol
Rayo Vallecano 1-2 Real Valladolid
Girona 1-2 Levante
Real Betis 2-1 Huesca


Roma 2-0 Juventus

Roma’s quest for Champions League qualification got a massive, and somewhat unexpected, boost in the form of a victory over champions-elect Juventus. Claudio Ranieri‘s side were three places and four points off fourth place, but now they sit just two place and one point back of Inter Milan with two games left to play.

Alessandro Florenzi (79th) and Edin Dzeko (90th+1) did all of Roma’s damage late against a full-strength Juve side. Following a disastrous start to the season (just five wins from their first 15 games), Roma have righted the ship and are now unbeaten in their last seven league games and have lost just three of their last 19.

Elsewhere in Serie A

SPAL 1-2 Torino
Torino 3-2 Sassuolo
Frosinone 1-3 Udinese
Sampdoria 2-1 Empoli

Report: PSG owners exploring possibility of buying Roma

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Qatari Sports Investments, the group which owns Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain, is exploring the possibility of purchasing Serie A club Roma, according to reports out of both Italy and France.

[ MORE: Harry Kane could miss rest of season, says Pochettino ]

Italian publication Corriere dello Sport was first with the news, followed by a confirmation of QSI’s interest by French newspaper L’Equipe.

The former reports that a $450-million bid has already been made, but the latter could not confirm this detail. Current Roma owner, American businessman James Pallotta, has denied that he has received any bid.

UEFA rules, if fully enforced, prevent the same person or persons from being the majority owners of two clubs on the continent. City Football Group, which owns Premier League giants Manchester City, also owns a 44.3 percent stake in La Liga side Girona. With an equal 44.3 percent stake also being held by Girona Football Group, CFG isn’t technically a majority owner.

QSI would likely be forced to create a new business group so as to skirt UEFA’s rules, while presumably bankrolling and operating the club through a very thin layer of separation and deniability.

[ MORE: Lloris, Son give Spurs lead over Man City (video) ]

If the world at-large could see through such a setup, then surely UEFA would be able to do so as well, and they simply would not stand for a scenario which could quite easily call into question the integrity of the world’s most prestigious club competition… right?

Just imagine this: PSG, a club still desperate to win the Champions League (or reach the final, even), is drawn against Roma in the semifinals of the 2021-22 competition. The same people, under different company names, own and operate both clubs. PSG is the global brand of the stable, therefore it takes precedence.

“Let them win, they come first,” QSI Chairman Nasser Ghanim Al-Khelaifi says to the Roma manager, Jose Mourinho. What does he do? Deliberately defy his boss, the man who will undoubtedly come down from the stands and fire him at halftime?

On second thought, this sounds entertaining.

Serie A: Roma’s misery deepens in 4-1 defeat to Napoli

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

[ MORE: What did we learn in the Premier League? (video) ]

Roma 1-4 Napoli

Napoli won’t be making any challenge to Juventus’ claim as the kings of Serie A this season, but they have unquestionably asserted themselves as Italy’s no. 2 club — exemplified in both their 10-point lead over everyone else, as well as Sunday’s 4-1 dismantling of previously second-best Roma.

It’s been a season to forget for Roma, who up until recently languished barely in the top half of the table. Now seventh, they’re closer in points to 14th place (15 points ahead) than they are to second-place Napoli (16 points back).

Sunday showed exactly why Claudio Ranieri‘s side sits where it does.

It was 1-0 to Napoli with fewer than two full minutes on the clock, courtesy of Arkadiusz Milik. Roma held their own the rest of the first half and pulled back to level terms in first-half stoppage time.

The floodgates, however, opened up in the second half, as Dries Merten (50th minute), Simone Verdi (54th) and Amin Younes (81st) blew the game wide open piled on the misery.

Napoli trail Juve by 15 points, while Roma

Elsewhere in Serie A

Inter Milan 0-1 Lazio
Parma 1-3 Atalanta
Fiorentina 1-1 Torino
Bologna 2-1 Sassuolo
Frosinone 0-1 SPAL