Champions League blow for Roma as they lose seventh game of the season

Roma might not make the Champions League after losing their seventh game of the season at the weekend. Roma lost away to Parma 2-0 and there would have been frustrations given that the Giallorossi played well and created many chances.

The result has left Paulo Fonseca’s side in 6th place and they are currently two points behind Atalanta in 4th. The worry could come from Napoli though who have jumped in front of them and have an extra game to play.

The Giallorossi were a goal down inside 10 minutes and didn’t stop to battle to try and come back but they simply did not have the luck on their side. In the end Roma were arguably the better side and actually had 20 goal attempts in the end but didn’t matter and you have to accept that some games just don’t drop fairly.

The Parma defeat felt like a surprise and whilst Roma’s objectives of finishing in the top four are still on this result has made it more awkward.

Roma coach Fonseca said after the game: “We should have scored earlier. It was a good start, we had a situation with Edin Dzeko, then the first time they got near our area, they scored a goal. A team that wants to be in the Champions League cannot concede those goals. That was a lack of concentration. Parma scored, then they were able to clam up.”

Fonseca continued: “We cannot concede a goal like that. It changed the game and Parma were then allowed to control the tempo. We conceded an avoidable goal and struggled to create chances, which is pretty inevitable when we don’t move the ball quickly enough and the opposition is able to sit back. We improved once Bryan Cristante came on, but he has played almost every game this season, he needs rest. Dzeko worked for the team, he made the right movements, but he wasn’t getting the right service. It’s not an issue of individuals but of the collective.”

Roma’s next game is against Napoli at Stadio Olimpico and what a duel that promises to be as it is 5th v 6th.

How many Roma players are in the top Serie A fantasy standings?

The fantasy standings are a unique way of telling us which players are performing the best this season. For Roma though only 2 players have made the top 30.

Position No. 4. Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Mkhitaryan has been Roma’s best player so far and has amassed 70 points. Given that he cost 7.5m then that is fantastic value if you had him in your team. The attacking midfielder has dropped off sometimes this season but has also been very solid and confident at times. He has contributed 17 goals for the club in the league and scored 9 of them and this has been a successful season for the player so far.

Position No. 12. Jordan Veretout

Jordan Veretout has shown some good signs in the last few weeks but he started the season in explosive style which has helped his points standing. Veretout has 54 so far and is edging nearer to being in the top 10 players of the season in Serie A. So far he has scored 10 goals but would probably want more assists to his name as he has just 2 at this time.

We would have to go back to 37th place for the next Roma to pop up and that is Lorenzo Pellegrini who has really come on in recent months and been an influential player for the Giallorossi. Pellegrini currently has 38 points.

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One foot in Europa League quarter finals but a step back in Serie A for Roma

Roma are almost in the quarter finals of the Europa League after they beat Braga of Portugal 2-0. The return leg is tonight in Italy and it is widely expected that the Giallorossi will have few problems in reaching the last 8 after their dominant display in the 1st leg.

The Europa League win was a game of a goal in the early stages and a goal at the end. Within 5 minutes of the start Leonardo Spinnazola had set up Edin Dzeko with a beautiful pass that caught out the Braga defence and Dzeko made no mistakes to put Roma in front. Dzeko has struggled to hold down a place this season and had fallen out with coach Paulo Fonseca so this goal felt like redemption for him.

Roma could have been 3 goals up within the hour if they had had some luck. A penalty appeal was rejected by a VAR review and then a goal was wiped off due to offside after another VAR review. But Roma knew that if they had a chance going into the 2nd leg against a quality side like Braga they would need to try and grab that second.

The goal finally came with just four minutes remaining but there would still be some controversy and tense moments to have it confirmed. Good work from Jordan Veretout set up Borja Mayoral to slot in an easy chance but VAR called it back for yet another possible offside. After some tense minutes the goal was given and Roma deservedly won the game 2-0. In the end Braga managed just 1 shot on target which was simply not good enough.

So the Europa League game was the good news, but the bad news was that Roma’s league title challenge could be over. The club could only draw 0-0 away to Benevento. The Giallorossi created numerous chances and again were denied a stoppage time penalty by VAR. They deserved the win this time but could only get a point. The end scenes were also chaotic as Benevento coach Filipo Inzaghi was sent off.

Roma are in 4th place with Atalanta and Lazio only one point behind them for a Champions League place. The Giallorossi have also slipped 9 points behind league leaders Inter and have Milan and Juventus in front of them. The league title isn’t quite over for them but realistically it now looks a distant hope and the focus has to be on finishing in a top 4 place.

What do the bookmakers think?

Let’s look at the two competitions that Roma are still in with a chance of winning which of course is Serie A and the Europa League. This is what the bookmakers think of Roma’s chances of winning either competition.

Serie A : 45/1

Europa League: 14/1

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Roma score 3 goals in 9 minutes against Verona to keep up title charge

It only took Roma 9 minutes to effectively finish off and win their 12th game of the season against Verona at Stadio Olimpico and the Giallorossi will maintain their hunt for the Scudetto.

The goals started from the 20th minute when Lorenzo Pellegrini’s corner found the head of Gianluigi Mancini. Mancini was 12 yards from goal and his header in fairness was not powerful, though it was directed well and see to evade Verona’s defenders and the keeper and Roma were in the lead.

The Giallorossi then doubled their lead just 120 seconds later with Verona’s defence stretched out after a quick counter attack. Marco Silvestri in goal for the visitors made the mistake to come far too out and Borja Mayoral who has been on good form for Roma almost had a clear chance. Mayoral though was sent wide but spotted Henrikh Mkhitaryan unmarked and in a better position. With Silvestri all over the place and gaps galore Mkhitaryan who had gone off the boil somewhat in the past few weeks slotted in to score his 9th goal of the season.

Roma could not believe their luck when seven minutes later they had made it 3-0. Again from a corner the ball found Pellegrini on the edge of the area who lashed his shot but the ball came off of Silvestri and fell to Mayoral right in front of him who was given a gift and didn’t fail to disappoint.

It was a first half dominated by Roma and it ended 3-0. In the second half Roma had a few chances to get a fourth but Silvestri in goal for Verona who had had a nightmare first 45 minutes showed his qualities and put in a very solid 2nd half performance.

Towards the end Roma who knew they had won this game just tried to dictate the pace and it was clear that the match was petering out. However Verona did get a consolation goal when Roma had appeared to switch off a little, the goal was from a breakaway and headed in by Ebrima Colley.

It was a well deserved victory by Roma and they are 3rd in the league behind Milan and Inter and have 40 points.

Fonseca and Dzeko update

It’s no secret that Roma coach Paulo Fonseca and Edin Dzeko have fallen out. Last week Dzeko was isolated and sent to train on his own. However after a possible move to Inter falling through on deadline day Dzeko will remain with the club. Fonseca and Dzeko have had a meeting since and Dzeko is set to rejoin the rest of the group and could even play this weekend when Roma take part in a huge game against Juventus.

Player focus: Lorenzo Pellegrini

Lorenzo Pellegrini started the season slowly but in the last 2 months has really picked up and become an integral part of this Roma side. He has been involved in 9 goals and scored 4 and assisted in another 5. Pellegrini so far has 33 points in the fantasy rankings and is the 3rd best ranked player for Roma. He is currently the 11th ranked player in the whole of Serie A for his position, and his value is 7m.

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Roma share 13 goals with Spezia in two unique games and stay in hunt for Serie A title

Roma and Spezia played each other two times in the space of four days and shared one win apiece. But that was only the small detail as they also shared a staggering 13 goals between them.

Quite incredibly Spezia beat Roma 4-2 in the Coppa Italia to knock Roma out of the competition and then pile on the pressure for coach Paulo Fonseca. But at the weekend Roma avenged that defeat as they beat Spezia in another thrilling game which had 7 goals in it as the Giallorossi won 4-3.

The action flew off from the 17th minute as Roma took the lead through Borja Mayoral who has been in very good form lately. He was assisted by Lorenzo Pellegrini and gave the keeper no chance to put the home team 1-0 up. However soon after it was 1-1 when Roberto Piccoli equalised for the visitors. He was never going to miss from just a few yards out as an initial shot from the club rebounded like a present for him and he made no mistakes.

At this point Roma would have been forgiven for thinking not again just as Spezia had showed so much courage in the cup game. Though there would be 7 goals the first half ended 1-1 and it was clear whilst Spezia were a threat in numbers Roma had been the better team.

However within seven minutes of the restart Roma had taken the lead with another superb shot from Mayoral and then just three minutes later Rick Kardsdrop made it 3-1 to the home side and the tie looked dead on its feet. The joy from the players was infectious by this point and there looked like no coming back from Spezia this time.

But the story wasn’t done yet and in a 2nd half which saw 3 goals in the opening 14 minutes Spezia pulled one back to make it 3-2. Then came the excitement and what a finish to the game it would be.

In the 90th minute against all the odds Spezia equalised to make it 3-3, having at one point trailed the game 3-1. Daniele Verde was the hero and he looked to have earned a point for the visitors and Spezia were officially going to be named as a thorn in the side of the Giallorossi. But this game wasn’t over even if there were only seconds left on the clock.

In the 92nd minute Lorenzo Pellegrini who had been all over the pitch and been the provider for quite a game scored a terrific shot that flew in the net for a last minute winner. The scenes on the pitch even sadly without the fans still generated quite a fantastic atmosphere.

It was great news for Roma too because Milan in 1st place lost against Atlanta and Inter could only draw away to Udinese so Roma caught both of them up and the Giallorossi are now only six points behind league leaders Milan. This title hunt is not over.

Dzeko set to leave but Alexis could come in

Edin Dzeko has had words with coach Paulo Fonseca to the point that both men have fallen out with one another and it has been reported that Dzeko has now been training on his own. But it doesn’t end there.

Official meetings have been held between Roma and Inter about a loan swap deal which would see Dzeko go to Inter probably as a back up squad player and Alexis Sanchez come to Roma.

With Inter in with a good shout of the Serie A title Sanchez may not want to leave but Dzeko will want as faraway as the capital as he can get. A deal if one happens could be concluded this week.

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Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s rebirth to propel Roma back into the Champions League

Since assuming the reins in 2019, Paulo Fonseca has wasted no time implementing his footballing philosophy in the nation’s capital. The veteran tactician has proven to be a willing learner since making the switch to Italian football, switching from his preferred 4-3-3 into a more fluid 3-4-2-1. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has arguably been the biggest benefactor of the formation change, establishing himself as one of Serie A’s deadliest creative threats.

The Armenian international is off to one of the best starts to a season in recent memory, registering seven goals and six assists in 14 appearances. Mkhitaryan has combined wonderfully with Edin Dzeko and Pedro up top, interchanging freely in the final third. The former Arsenal man has excelled with his newfound freedom and has since led the Giallorossi into third place heading into 2021.

Roma has failed to qualify for the last two editions of the Champions League and will be eager to make their return to Europe’s elite competition. Beyond the prestige that comes with the competition, Champions League qualification would represent more funds to bolster the side. Mkhitaryan’s rebirth offers a cause for excitement in the nation’s capital and could propel Roma back into the conversation alongside Europe’s elite.

The 31-year-old initially broke onto the scene back in 2016 in Germany with Borussia Dortmund, emerging as an elite attacking midfielder under Jurgen Klopp. Mkhitaryan finished the season with 11 goals and 15 assists in 28 starts, prompting interest from England’s giants. The Armenian international eventually made the move to Manchester United, where he struggled to replicate his past exploits. Simply put, English football did not suit Mkhitaryan’s skillset.

Mkhitaryan later moved to Arsenal in hopes of reviving his career, but once again, failed to prove his worth in London. His woes in England meant he was available on the cheap, with Roma swooping in for his signature, securing him on a loan deal. The former Manchester United man impressed on his loan, scoring nine goals and recording five assists in 16 appearances. The decision to trigger their option for him proved to be an easy one for Roma.

The switch to Italian football has since helped Mkhitaryan get his career back on track and show glimpses of his past form. The Armenian international is currently on pace to beat his breakout season with Dortmund and surpass his personal best for goals and assists. Beyond his impressive numbers, Mkhitaryan makes Roma tick in the final third.

The 31-year-old is always looking to dictate play in possession and regularly looks to take on his man. His connection with Dzeko has made for one of Italy’s most intriguing strike partnerships this season, with the Giallorossi netting 31 goals already on the season. Given both their experience, expect Roma to continue their run of form heading into 2021.

Fonseca’s men open up the new year against Sampdoria and Crotone, but they can’t get too comfortable. After all, mouth-watering clashes against Inter and Lazio await them in the space of five days, wrapping up an enthralling month of January. With Mkhitaryan firing on all cylinders, the Italian giants will like their chances.

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Reality check against Atalanta but Roma stay in Serie A title hunt

Football isn’t always plain sailing even if you are experiencing good form and Roma were. Before Paolo Fonseca’s team faced Atalanta they had won back to back games and scored 8 goals as they lay charge to put pressure on both Inter and Milan.

Then of course came Atalanta. The game in which Roma imploded and lost the game 4-1. What was perplexing is that not only did Roma take the lead through Edin Dzeko as early as the 3rd minute but just before the hour mark they were still leading the game.

Atalanta had just 1 shot on target in the first half and it seemed as if Roma were going to have a routine win and add a second. Then the crumble happened in the space of 25 minutes and the home side scored 4 goals. Duvan Zapata scored the equaliser and three different goal scorers followed to stun the Giallrossi.

Paolo Fonseca had this to say after the game: “The team was stretched out, not aggressive, and that is fatal against a side like Atalanta. It wasn’t physical, it was psychological, a question of attitude. We played well for 25 minutes, then changed attitude completely. That cannot happen.”

Fonseca continued: “We want to win every game and if the team had kept the attitude of the first half, we may well have won. However, playing like we did in the second half makes it extremely difficult to take points off big opponents. It was just totally different after the break. The team went too deep, showed no aggression, no determination. There was no reason for it. We must make sure the players understand they cannot change their attitude like that. We made it too easy for Atalanta. Without aggression, you cannot win this type of match.”

Win before the Christmas break

The Giallorossi’s next match was a home one against Cagliari and they had the chance to forget about the poor Atalanta result and get back to winning ways, and they done just that with a 3-2 victory.

Jordan Veretout who has come back to form in recent weeks gave the home side the lead on 12 minutes and the half ended 1-0. Joao Pedro equalised for Cagliari early on in the second half . But on the 71st minute the in form Edin Dzeko put Roma in front and just a few minutes later Gianluca Mancini sealed the game, the defender scoring a rare goal. Cagliari pulled one back in injury time for a couple of tense minutes but Roma were fine.

Roma now has 27 points and are seven points behind Milan and six points behind Inter. The Christmas break is here and Roma’s next game will be at home against Sampdoria.

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Roma hit Bologna for 5 and are in search of a top 4 place this week

After their disappointing 0-0 result against Sassuolo the Giallorossi were back in style as they went to Bologna and thumped then 5-1.

There were four different goalscorers for Roma and an own goal in a very eventful game. It started with a bang too within just 4 minutes Andrea Poli had scored an own goal after a low dangerous cross and Roma were one up. But this start was nothing compared to what Bologna would face in the next 10 minutes of the game.

When the clock struck the tenth minute it was 2-0 and five minutes later it was 3-0 and this game was put to bed within the first quarter of an hour. Edin Dzeko scored Roma’s second when he found the ball just inside the box and made a brilliant turn to fool the defender and slotted home with absolute ease.

The third goal came after a brilliant long pass from Leonardo Spinazzola and the ball found an unmarked Lorenzo Pellegrini who steered home rather easily. Indeed it was well taken but the defending from Bologna was comical it was as if they had switched off possibly looking for an offside that never came. However against the run of play Bologna pulled one back after Roma scored an own goal through Bryan Cristante.

But Roma were playing like a team possessed and it was soon 4-1. The fourth goal was perhaps the best of the lot as it was a classic team goal that consisted of passes and quick one twos. It was finished off by Henrikh Mkhitaryan whose brilliant pass found Jordan Veretout who had been quite the last few weeks and he slid home easily. It was a perfect goal.

The Gallorossi were not finished yet though and would score their 5th goal before half time in a nightmare 45 minutes for the home side. It would be Mkhitaryan who would score the fifth goal after great team work again and with 5 in the bag at half time people were wondering if we were going to see double figures by the end. It wasn’t to be though and the game ended with that scoreline.

It said it all that Bologna at home had just 1 shot on target the whole game and Roma thoroughly deserved their victory. It is a win that has put the club in sixth place and was their sixth win of the season. Roma now has 21 points and are seven behind the league leaders Milan who drew at Genoa.

Europa League draw for Roma

Roma were impressive in the Europa League group stages and their reward for reaching the knock out rounds which begin next year is a two legged match with Portuguese outfit Sporting Braga. The clubs haven’t met before and the encounters are sure to be memorable and very close.

Serie A- the next 3 games

Christmas time is coming and that means that Serie A will shut down for a few weeks. Roma have 3 games left to play. Tonight they will be at home against Torino and then on Sunday they will play Atalanta away. Their final game before the break will be against Cagliari and that will take place at home.

Top 3 best performing players

Let’s take a look at the best performing players in the fantasy rankings so far for Roma.

1. Henrikh Mkhitaryan 44pts

2. Jordan Veretout       27pts

3. Lorenzo Pellegrini    17pts

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Roma’s hot start comes crashing down against Napoli

Roma kicked off the season in sensational form after their bizarre forfeit against Hellas Verona, propelling themselves into an unlikely title race. The Giallorossi’s hot start came to an abrupt end, suffering a comprehensive defeat against Napoli. Paulo Fonseca’s side failed to get into the game, eventually losing 4-0 to the Partenopei.

While it is the side’s only defeat on the field this season, the manner in which they lost was slightly concerning. Roma was completely played off the pitch by Gennaro Gattuso’s men and will need to turn it around ahead of the holiday stretch. Bryan Cristante, a midfielder by trade, has had to deputize at the back due to an injury crisis at the club, and did a solid job – that was until Sunday.

Summer arrival Marash Kumbulla is expected to return to the lineup, after battling with COVID-19 for the better part of the last two weeks. The defender’s return will offer Roma some much-needed stability at the back, allowing Cristante to return to a more familiar position.

Beyond their defensive woes on Sunday, Napoli completely overran Fonseca’s side in the middle of the park. Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini struggled to get a grip of things in the midfield and regularly turned over possession. Roma’s 3-4-2-1 setup has worked in recent weeks, but in big games, their midfield duo needs support.

Whether it is a winger tracking back centrally, or one of their wingbacks coming into the middle, Fonseca would be wise to make a tactical adjustment. Otherwise, Roma risks getting outnumbered in the midfield in every big game. Gattuso took full advantage of this opportunity, deploying a midfield three of Diego Demme, Fabian Ruiz, and Piotr Zielinski.

The Polish international was a constant menace in the final third and often drifted between the lines, without being marked. Fabian Ruiz, on the other hand, was offered more freedom by Gattuso and regularly popped up in and around the area. As Demme shielded the back four, Fabian Ruiz and Zielinski’s runs opened up Roma’s rearguard and overloaded the middle of the park. If Roma wants to continue its fine run of form, Fonseca should take note of this and make the appropriate tactical changes.

As a result of their midfield struggles, Roma’s front three of Pedro, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Edin Dzeko were largely stranded up top. Mkhitaryan often dropped deep to collect possession but was unable to find outlets in the final third. Roma’s wingbacks tried to get forward in support, but Napoli did well to double up on their markers out wide and nullify their threat.

Roma had been flying high before matchday nine, but have since been rocked back to earth following their heavy defeat. Fonseca would be wise to learn from his side’s mistakes and retool his setup ahead of the upcoming stretch. Roma has made some significant progress under the Portuguese tactician and is arguably a few tweaks away from hitting their best form. It may have taken a 4-0 defeat, but it might just help them in the long run.

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Mkhitaryan in the form of his life as Roma go 3rd with third win in a row

There were no problems for Roma who went 3rd in the league as they beat Parma 3-0 for the 3rd win in a row in Serie A.

Paulo Fonseca’s side were ruthless as they scored all of their goals in the first half, having 5 shots on target alone in that period. Parma had to make do with having 1 shot on target for the whole match.

The plaudits will once again be paid to Henrikh Mkhitaryan who scored 2 goals, and a few weeks ago scored a hat trick. The player is on fire and is obviously enjoying himself.

With his 2 goals Mkhitaryan earned 10 points at the weekend in the fantasy rankings and he now has a total of 38. This total is enough to make him currently the best player in the rankings for Serie A.

So far this season Roma have scored 19 goals and Mkhitaryan has been involved in 9 of them, scoring 5 and assisting in a further 4.

The opening goal in the Parma game came after 28 minutes after some lovely work from Leonardo Spinazzola. His reverse clever pass found Borja Mayoral unmarked in the area and tucked away with precision. That was Mayoral’s first goal of the season and also Spinnazola’s first assist.

Minutes later it was 2-0 and this was a belter. Mkhitaryan picked up a bouncing loose ball on the edge of the area and thumped it home. Then just a few minutes after that it was 3-0, this goal again for Mkhitaryan won’t be remembered as was just a simple tap in.

Roma may have been left frustrated in the second half as no further goals developed but they had done their job early on and earned the three points. With the club in 3rd place they are just 3 points behind AC Milan.

Paulo Fonseca happy with Roma’s performance

“We put in an excellent performance, especially in the first half, as we scored three goals and could’ve had quite a few more. I think the team played well, in the second half we controlled the situation and still created more chances to find the net. I always said Mkhitaryan is a great professional who can do well in various different roles, so I am not surprised by what he’s doing. The team is feeling confident. It’s true Edin Dzeko is very important to us, but it’s also important to see that the team maintains its identity despite changing numerous players.”

Roma prepare for Cluj and receive fantastic boost

Roma will play Cluj in the Europa League on Thursday evening and the club received some good news. Striker Edin Dzeko has been passed fit to play in the game. It was initially thought that he would miss this one and instead make his comeback from injury against Napoli at the weekend.

It is expected that Dzeko will start from the bench and play at least 20 minutes of the game to get his fitness levels up before the Napoli match.

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Edin Dzeko hoping to return this month as Giallorossi prepare for new director of club

Roma have not played since November 8th due to the international break and their next game will be against Parma. The big news surrounding this is the return of Edin Dzeko back from injury. Although the player is set to miss the Parma clash the target is to have the Bosnian international back before the end of the month.

At the beginning of the season it seemed that Dzeko was on the verge of joining Juventus but an eleventh hour change means that the talented striker has stayed with the Giallorossi at least for this season.

Dzeko’s possible return in a weeks time has been making all of the headlines in Italy and that’s for good reason considering that he’s scored 81 goals in just 177 league appearances for the club.

Tiago Pinto is welcomed to Roma from Benfica

Roma have taken advantage of a break in domestic football duties to appoint a new director of football and have chosen 36 year old Tiago Pinto. Pinto will come from Benfica. Pinto had been with Benfica for 3 years and his new role at the club will not commence until January. Pinto said “Leaving Benfica was a very tough decision, given what we have achieved together over the past eight years, but the chance to join a resurgent Roma and to contribute to that momentum under this dynamic new ownership was a professional opportunity that I could not turn down.”

Preparing for Parma

Roma’s next game will be at home to Parma. The club come into the game in 4th place and are just 3 points behind current leaders Milan. At Stadio Olimpico Roma are undefeated after 3 games winning 2 and drawing one and come into this game with back to back wins. Their last match at home ended in a 2-0 win over Fiorentina.

The Giallorossi could be without Chris Smalling who has become ill through food poisoning. Smalling has made a big impact on the team but after his Coronavirus and now this he has had a stop and start time to the new campaign.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was banned from playing for Armenia in the international games because of recently contracting Coronavirus and this means that the player who has amassed the most fantasy points with 28 so far must be a doubt for the Parma game. A lot of responsibility will fall onto the shoulders of Jordan Veretout who has earned 22 points this season for the Italians and been their second best player in the fantasy rankings.

R.I.P Dino Da Costa

Roma legend Dino Da Costa has passed away at the age of 89. Da Costa scored 75 goals in 160 games for Roma and played for the club for six years between 1955-1961. In scoring 106 goals Da Costa is 8th in the all time club scoring charts for Serie A.

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