The Malta Independent 23 February 2024, Friday
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Mourinho makes right moves in Roma comeback win, Inter win in Naples

Associated Press Monday, 4 December 2023, 07:11 Last update: about 4 months ago

Jose Mourinho’s pre-match accusations aimed at the referee and Sassuolo’s standout winger Domenico Berardi created plenty of controversy — and will likely result in another suspension for the veteran Portuguese coach.

There was no questioning Mourinho’s choices off the bench, though, as Roma earned its sixth win in its last eight Serie A matches on Sunday.

Substitute Rasmus Kristensen earned a penalty that Paulo Dybala converted and then the Denmark right back scored to give Roma a 2-1 comeback win at 10-man Sassuolo.

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On Saturday, Mourinho had labeled referee Matteo Marcenaro unstable.

“We had him three times as a fourth official and I don’t think he has the emotional stability for games of this level,” Mourinho said, prompting the Italian soccer federation to open a disciplinary case against the coach.

And Mourinho wasn’t done.

He then said Berardi “exaggerates fouls to draw yellow cards,” adding that “if he was my player I wouldn’t like that at all.”

So perhaps it was no coincidence that Berardi set up the first goal, threading a pass through the area that Matheus Henrique tapped in at the far post.

Mourinho brought on Kristensen for Rick Karsdorp after halftime and the match changed when Daniel Boloca was sent off for a foul on Roma midfielder Leandro Paredes — after Marcenaro consulted the VAR.

Kristensen was then taken down between two defenders and Dybala’s penalty was accurate enough even though goalkeeper Andrea Consigli leaped in the correct direction.

Six minutes later, Kristensen produced a shot that took a big deflection off a defender and looped into the goal.

Roma moved up to fourth, level on points but ahead of fifth-place Napoli, which lost 3-0 at home to Italian leader Inter Milan.

Afterward, Mourinho made a statement in Portuguese and said that his Italian wasn't proficient enough to explain certain concepts in terms of his comments about the referee.

Mourinho was suspended for two matches at the start of this season for comments about a referee at the end of last season. He was also banned for four matches by UEFA in June for verbally abusing the Europa League final referee in a stadium garage after Roma lost to Sevilla.

BARELLA’S SLALOM

Inter moved back into first place and made a statement about its title intentions with the 3-0 win at Napoli.

Hakan Calhanoglu scored with a powerful long-range shot at the end of the first half. Nicolò Barella slalomed through the defense midway through the second half for a score that could vie for goal of the season honors. And Marcus Thuram tapped in to seal it.

Also, Inter goalkeeper Yann Sommer made a series of spectacular saves.

Inter moved two points ahead of Juventus, which beat Monza 2-1 on Friday.

Napoli winger Matteo Politano hit the crossbar in the first half.

Barella’s goal started with a cross from Lautaro Martinez. Then the midfielder went past Napoli center backs Leo Ostigard and Natan before shifting his weight again to prod the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Alex Meret.

It was Napoli’s fourth home loss this season after losing only twice at the Stadio Diego Maradona during its title run.

102 GOALS

Fiorentina is sixth with a 3-0 win over last-place Salernitana.

Lucas Beltran converted a penalty kick for his first Serie A goal after his own backheel pass set up a foul on Arthur Melo. Riccardo Sottil scored with a long-range shot that bounced in off both the crossbar and the post. After the break, Giacomo Raspadori finished off a full team move.

With 102 goals in 2023, Fiorentina set a team record for a year in which it reached the Conference League and Italian Cup finals. The Tuscan club beat Genk on Thursday to advance in this season’s Conference League.

Bologna is seventh following a 1-1 draw at Lecce. Rocks were thrown at a bus carrying Bologna supporters to the match.

Udinese and Hellas Verona drew 3-3.

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