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De Rossi's debut as Roma coach successful with win over Verona

Daniele De Rossi Daniele De Rossi - The Canadian Press

ROME (AP) — There were protests outside the stadium following the firing of José Mourinho.

Inside the Stadio Olimpico, new Roma coach Daniele De Rossi — the former Giallorossi captain — was greeted by loud cheers. Yet there were also numerous banners saluting Mourinho.

It was a unique atmosphere for De Rossi’s debut as Roma quickly shed Mourinho’s defensive style for a more offensive approach in a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Hellas Verona in Serie A on Saturday.

Romelu Lukaku and Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini scored six minutes apart during the first half, with both goals set up by Stephan El Shaarawy.

Michael Folorunsho pulled one back for Verona with a long, swerving shot midway through the second half after teammate Milan Djuric missed a penalty kick, setting up a nervy finale for Roma.

“It was great to be back at the Olimpico,” De Rossi said. “There’s always a lot of affection but now I have a different role. One hand it’s very emotional, on the other hand there’s a lot of tension because there’s a job to do.”

The victory moved Roma within two points of the top four and the Champions League zone — the objective De Rossi was charged with when he signed a six-month contract.

Verona, which beat Roma 2-1 in August, remained 18th.

Third-place AC Milan won 3-2 at Udinese in a match that was suspended briefly during the first half for racist chants aimed at Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

There are only six Serie A matches this weekend because of the Italian Super Cup being held in Saudi Arabia.

The first half was a demonstration of De Rossi’s attacking intent, as his team swarmed forward toward Verona’s goal in a 4-3-2-1 formation with De Rossi constantly calling on his squad to move the ball faster.

El Shaarawy wove his way through three defenders to set up Lukaku’s opener from the center of the area then flicked the ball to Pellegrini for the second following a cross from Lukaku.

In the second half, a goal from Folorunsho was waved off for a pushing foul. Then, when a foul from Roma defender Diego Llorente was confirmed by the VAR, Djuric shot high over the crossbar.

Roma goalkeeper Rui Patricio was partly to blame for Verona's goal, as he could only get a weak hand on the ball after Folorunsho's shot took a sharp bend.

Mourinho, who coached Roma to consecutive European finals — including the Conference League trophy in 2022 — was let go on Tuesday with Roma languishing in ninth place and at risk of missing the Champions League for a sixth straight season.

A banner unveiled near midfield at kickoff read, “It was a privilege having you on our side — thank you Jose.”

Other banners said, “You defended our Roma and took us to victory. Eternal glory for Mourinho!” and “We did not demand trophies and laurels, but only respect for the shirt and its fans. Honor Roma and fight for its people!!”


Maignan walked off the field after being subjected to racist chants by Udinese fans.

Shortly after Milan had scored to take a 1-0 lead and Milan was about to take a goal kick, Maignan signaled to his teammates to stop, walked to the referee and then to the sideline.

Teammates attempted to console Maignan on the sideline but then the France international took his gloves off and walked down the tunnel leading off the field.

Maignan, who is Black, had also told the referee about monkey chants earlier during the match, prompting an announcement in the stadium asking fans to stop.

The Serie A game resumed about five minutes after the suspension when Maignan and teammates came back out.

“There is absolutely no place in our game for racism: we are appalled, “ Milan said on X, formerly Twitter. “We are with you, Mike.”

Luke Jovic and Noah Okafor scored late as Milan came back from a goal down to secure the victory.

Jovic knocked in the rebound of a shot from Olivier Giroud that hit the crossbar in the 83rd and then Giroud headed down a corner toward Okafor for the winner in stoppage time.

Lazar Samardzic and Florian Thauvin had put Udinese ahead after an early Milan goal from Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Milan moved within four points of second-place Juventus, which visits Lecce on Sunday.


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