Roma red-faced after European exit

Midfielder Daniele de Rossi (right) pleading his case in vain after receiving the first of Roma's two red cards during the 3-0 defeat by Porto on Tuesday. The Serie A team, favoured to win despite drawing the first leg 1-1, never recovered after the visit
Midfielder Daniele de Rossi (right) pleading his case in vain after receiving the first of Roma's two red cards during the 3-0 defeat by Porto on Tuesday. The Serie A team, favoured to win despite drawing the first leg 1-1, never recovered after the visitors took the lead in the eighth minute. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERN • AS Roma suffered another European humiliation on Tuesday when they had two players sent off, lost 0-3 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 1-6 to Barcelona last season and 1-7 at home to Bayern Munich two years ago, but not even they could have imagined how Tuesday's game would unfold.

Their initial confidence was shattered when Felipe's header put Porto in front 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.

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

Almost immediately, Jesus Corona turned his marker inside out before scoring to seal Roma's fate.

The Italian club's manager, Luciano Spalletti, said after the game he could not understand why his side picked up red cards, which caused them to crash out of the Champions League.

"We didn't control the ball well, which was what I had been planning and why I made certain choices. We didn't manage it, just as we were re-organising ourselves after the goal, we went down to 10 and it all became more difficult," he said.

"The red cards were naive, because finishing the games with 11 men was our characteristic last season. We never gave the referee the chance to send us off.

"Now it's happening a lot and I can't understand why, as we could've been a lot calmer."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2016, with the headline 'Roma red-faced after European exit'. Print Edition | Subscribe