Berliner Tageblatt - Roma eye Italy's Champions League spots with Sassuolo win

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Roma eye Italy's Champions League spots with Sassuolo win
Roma eye Italy's Champions League spots with Sassuolo win / Photo: © AFP/File

Roma eye Italy's Champions League spots with Sassuolo win

Roma closed in on Serie's A top four on Sunday after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Sassuolo and move level on points with champions Napoli, who host Inter Milan in a huge title clash.

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Paulo Dybala's 76th-minute penalty and a wildly deflected strike from Rasmus Kristensen shortly afterwards earned Roma the points from a scrappy match which Sassuolo finished with 10 men after Daniel Boloca was sent off in the 63rd minute.

Roma are fifth, trailing by goal difference to Napoli who sit in the last Champions League spot and need to win the weekend's headline match to reignite their title defence.

Inter will reclaim top spot from Juventus as long as they do not lose, while a win in Naples could also push Roma above Napoli and into fourth.

The draw at the Mapei Stadium came as coach Jose Mourinho is reportedly being investigated by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) for saying that referee Matteo Marcenaro didn't "have the emotional stability to referee at this level" ahead of the match.

The Portuguese blasted Marcenaro, 31, in a pre-match outburst on Saturday which the country's refereeing association said "could lead to violence" against officials.

However, Mourinho was backed by Roma on Sunday, General Manager Tiago Pinto saying that the coach "didn't insult anyone" and that the club hadn't been informed of any FIGC probe.

And despite speaking excellent Italian he insisted on only speaking in Portuguese in his post-match interview with DAZN, thanking Roma through an interpreter for the support.

"I am speaking Portuguese because my Italian is not good enough to explain certain concepts," said Mourinho.

"When I spoke about emotional stability, I was talking about a quality that is necessary in both life and football in order to perform at the highest level."

- Roma comeback -

Jose Mourinho's team looked unlikely to get a result until Dybala squeezed in his fourth goal of the season from the penalty spot to level Matheus Henrique's 25th-minute opener for Sassuolo, who sit 15th.

Romelu Lukaku had missed the best chance of the game for Roma 10 minutes before Boloca's red card when he shot straight at Andrea Consigli when all alone in front of the Sassuolo goalkeeper.

And the away side had a huge slice of good fortune with eight minutes remaining when Kristensen's effort clipped Ruan Tressoldi and looped over the despairing Consigli to the delight of the massed ranks of Roma fans behind that goal.

Fiorentina are a point behind Roma in sixth thanks to a simple 3-0 win over the division's bottom team Salernitana.

Meanwhile Bologna are a further point and place back after Roberto Piccoli's penalty in the 10th minute of added time cost Thiago Motta's team a 1-1 draw at Lecce.

Thomas Henry scored his first goal for Verona since August last year to snatch a late 3-3 draw at fellow strugglers Udinese.

Frenchman Henry has been restricted to short appearances off the bench this season after tearing knee ligaments in January.

But after coming on with six minutes remaining and his team trailing he glanced home a perfect header in the seventh minute of stoppage time to move his side one point from safety and two behind Udinese, who sit 16th.

Y.Bouchard--BTB