10-man Roma whips Atalanta 3-0

Updated 13 December 2012
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10-man Roma whips Atalanta 3-0

ROME: Roma beat Atalanta 3-0 in the fifth round of the Italian Cup on Tuesday, despite playing most of the second half with 10 men.
The capital side will meet either Udinese or Fiorentina in the next round in January after a fifth consecutive victory in all competitions.
Miralem Pjanic and Pablo Osvaldo put Roma 2-0 up before the break following two howlers from Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli. Mattia Destro extended Roma’s lead shortly after the interval.
Osvaldo swiftly went from hero to villain as he was shown a straight red card 10 minutes into the second period for an elbow on Atalanta defender Carlos Matheu.
“I’m happy with the result,” Roma coach Zdenek Zeman said. “At the beginning we tried to do what we know how to do. In the second half we gave them too much initiative, but what was important was to go through to the next round.
“On every corner Osvaldo had a player on top of him and he wanted to get free. But you shouldn’t act as if you were playing rugby, and to free yourself you have to be cunning. It’s difficult to decide what to do.”
Roma and Atalanta fielded almost full-strength lineups, although Daniele De Rossi was handed a start for the first time in a month for the capital side.
Destro had penalty appeal waved away in the 20th minute when he appeared to be bundled over by Cristiano Raimondi in the area.
However, Roma was in front seconds later when Pjanic’s shot from the edge of the area — which looked like an easy attempt for the Italy under-21 goalkeeper to punch clear — stung Consigli’s palms on the way in.
Roma doubled its lead 10 minutes later when Consigli mistimed his exit to gather Destro’s through ball and Osvaldo tapped it in.
It extended its lead still further six minutes into the second half after Pjanic threaded through a delightful ball for Destro to sidefoot home.
Atalanta was gifted a chance to get back into the game when Osvaldo was rightly sent off for swinging out an elbow after appearing to be being held by Matheu on a corner.
But Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg pulled off a stunning diving save to keep out Facundo Parra’s header from a meter out and Atalanta had a penalty appeal dismissed seconds later when Ivan Piris appeared to handle following Giuseppe De Luca’s header.


'We want to make Saudi Arabia proud': Pizzi promises better showing against Egypt

Updated 21 June 2018
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'We want to make Saudi Arabia proud': Pizzi promises better showing against Egypt

  • Saudi Arabia cannot progress from Group A even if they defeat Egypt in their final game on Monday
  • Wednesday’s overall performance was much improved, yet a lack of penetrative passing was obvious

ROSTOV-ON-DON: “Keeping possession of the ball seems to be the absolute and most important thing, but then when you sometimes find issues in getting the ball into your opponent’s half, you have to find other movements and ways of doing that,” said Oscar Tabarez after watching his lackluster Uruguay rely on a solitary Luis Suarez goal to eliminate Saudi Arabia from the World Cup. 
Tabarez was talking about his own team’s struggles, yet the assessment is considerably more applicable to the Green Falcons, who dominated possession and retained the ball with ease in midfield, yet for the second match running looked absolutely bereft of ideas in the final third. With Uruguay and Russia now on six points, Saudi Arabia cannot progress from Group A even if they defeat Egypt in their final game on Monday.
The Green Falcons coach Juan Antonio Pizzi confirmed he intends to stay at the helm of the side for the long-haul, yet is only too aware that the potential of this team is being hamstrung by its inability to score. He called it “our weakness”, adding that his side enjoyed “good ball possession, but no effectiveness”. They, he said, did not have the sufficient “weapons or tools” to equalize.
Pizzi’s side have found the net now just twice in their past five games and against Uruguay managed only three shots on target in 90 minutes — two of which came in added time and were so tame they would hardly have troubled the opposition goalkeeper Fernando Muslera had he been relaxing at his far post sipping a drink. In the 5-0 defeat to Russia last week, they failed to muster a single shot on target. 
Wednesday’s overall performance was much improved, yet a lack of penetrative passing was obvious. One passage of play in the opening exchanges saw Saudi Arabia complete 16 passes untroubled without the ball entering the opposition penalty box. When Uruguay finally won possession, they required only four quick exchanges to find Edinson Cavani on the left wing drilling the ball across the front of goal. 
“I don’t share that assessment,” said Pizzi, when it was put to him that his team was too slow to attack. “We played at the speed that was necessary. We need to be accurate, but if you step up the speed you lose accuracy with your passes. We had control of the game and that was why.”
Striker Mohammed Al-Sahlawi had been the focal point of much criticism from Turki Al-Sheikh, the head of Saudi’s General Sports Authority, after the Russia “fiasco” and was dropped from the side against Uruguay. So too was goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf, another who Al-Sheikh name-checked as having been at fault.
Pizzi, asked whether the scathing assessment from his bosses had forced his hand when it came to team selection, calmly dismissed the suggestion. He also ruled out the notion that administrative issues between the players and the country’s football federation had caused unrest in his squad.
“I have a list of 23 players here and they are all available to play. We are here together and pushing in the same direction. 
“I wanted — and still want — to make the Saudi Arabian people feel proud of our energy and the desire we show in matches. Unfortunately we were unable to do that against Russia and will be playing our next match without any hope of progressing. I hope now they will feel a little more proud even though we are out of the World Cup,” he said.