Football

Red faces at Roma

Italian giants out of Champions League after humiliation 
at home

PLAY-OFF, SECOND LEG

ROMA 0

PORTO 3

(Felipe 8, Miguel Layun 73, 
Jesus Corona 75)

  • Porto win 4-1 on aggregate

Roma suffered another European humiliation yesterday morning (Singapore time) when they had two players sent off, lost 3-0 at home to Porto and missed out on the Champions League group stage.

After drawing 1-1 in Portugal in the first leg of the play-off tie, Roma started as favourites but never recovered after Felipe gave the visitors an eighth-minute lead.

They imploded completely when Daniele de Rossi and his replacement Emerson Palmieri were shown straight red cards either side of half-time.

Roma became the third successive Serie A team, and the sixth in the last eight seasons, to lose in the play-off round, leaving Italy with only two representatives - Juventus and Napoli - in today's group-stage draw.

Roma have had their fair share of recent European disasters after losing 6-1 to Barcelona last season and 7-1 at home to Bayern Munich two years ago, but not even they could have imagined how this game would unfold.

Their initial confidence was shattered when Felipe headed Porto in front from Otavio's cross, but the real trouble began in the 39th minute when midfielder de Rossi was sent off for a high tackle on Maxi Pereira.

Amid angry Roma protests, he was replaced by Palmieri who lasted only 11 minutes before he was dismissed for a shocking lunge.

RECKLESS

Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny booked his place in the rogue's gallery with a reckless charge out of his goal, which allowed Miguel Layun to slot Porto's second into an empty net.

Almost immediately, Jesus Corona turned his marker inside out before scoring the third.

Roma's Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman said: "We didn't start the game well, I don't know why. We had prepared for the match well and we knew what to do out there, but we didn't do the right things.

"Nor did they create chances but they scored early from a free-kick out wide.

"We didn't play well and we got two red cards. We gave everything even when we were down to nine men. Then we conceded a second and it was game over."

But for Porto's Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas, it was a memorable match.

It gave him a chance to play in the Champions League for a remarkable 18th consecutive season.

Former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs is the only player to have achieved the feat before his retirement in 2014.

Casillas, 35, tweeted after the game: "Victory in Rome and qualification for the Champions League, great team!!!"

He added: "I've been in the Champions League for many years now and it's important to be in Europe's biggest competition. We've got big ambitions."

Casillas lifted the Champions League trophy three times during his 16 seasons at Real Madrid.

The Spain international made his debut in the competition in September 1999 against Olympiakos. 
- Wire Services.

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