The Eternal City’s heartbeat is back to normal after the undulating emotions of Wednesday night, and the dominant feelings not just around Rome, but in Italy as a whole, are regret and a sense of injustice.
Regret because of the way Roma threw away a winnable Champions League semifinal with suicidal tactics in the first leg, and injustice after two penalty decisions could have swung the tie in their favour went against them.
“Another injustice!”, screamed Thursday’s front page of the Corriere dello Sport. “An absolute joke”, raged chairman James Pallotta, lamenting claims for nailed on second half spot kicks that were denied, allowing Liverpool to stay with 11 men on the field with half an hour to play.
Pallotta has been charged for his comments, but UEFA isn’t going to stop Italian media getting its knickers in a twist. On Friday the papers doubled down on their horror at the “treatment” of Italian clubs in Europe, wondering how Serie A’s best can be on the wrong end of so many bad decisions despite Pierluigi Collina being chairman of FIFA’s Referee’s Committee.
“An Italian,” writes the bewildered Corriere, as though that should allow them more favourable decisions. Meanwhile, the Gazzetta Dello Sport, and others, demanded the introduction of video assistant referees.
The Gazzetta quoted the head of the Italian Olympic Committee Giovanni Malago as saying it would have helped “avoid certain refereeing disasters”. The paper didn’t ask if he was also referring to Alessandro Florenzi’s scissor tackle on Sadio Mane.
However, despite the wails of horror at the refereeing, what did for Roma wasn’t so much key calls going against them — and go against them they did — but their timeless ability to shoot themselves in the foot in every way possible.
The Giallorossi came into Wednesday night’s match, the club’s biggest for over three decades, having to do the impossible for the second round in a row after melting in the face of Liverpool’s awesome front three at Anfield. That 5-2 destruction — led by magnanimous old boy Mohamed Salah — was brought about by terrible management from Eusebio Di Francesco, whose decision to start with a back three and pit poor old Juan Jesus against Salah backfired spectacularly.
Wednesday night’s glorious, noble but ultimately useless win left Roma wondering what might have been.
Daniele De Rossi reflects on Roma’s Champions League semi-final defeat to Liverpool. Photo by Silvia Lore/NurPhoto via Getty Images
What was going through Radja Nainggolan’s head when he laid that dreadful pass into the path of Roberto Firmino, no-one knows. Perhaps it was “oh no”, or maybe he was wondering where he left his cigarettes. Regardless, it sucked the life out of a stadium that had been on the verge of boiling over after an extremely encouraging opening nine minutes in which, with a back four that was keeping a lid on the Reds’ front three, Roma were taking the game to Liverpool.
Roma honoured the city and the fantastic atmosphere in the Olimpico to win the match 4-2, but from the moment Mane collected Firmino’s pass and expertly finished a lightning counter, the contest was dead. The hosts had simply left themselves too much to do.
Even when James Milner amusingly face-slapped Dejan Lovren’s clearance into his own net, the idea that Roma could score another three without conceding another was almost unthinkable. The scandalous ball-watching that saw Georginio Wijnaldum head home the away side’s second unmarked from six yards out (despite the clear push on Edin Dzeko that led to the Bosnian nodding the ball to the Dutchman) showed the 61,000 people present why.
Then came the decisions. Dzeko was wrongly ruled offside before he was clattered to the ground by Loris Karius five minutes after the break, but the striker’s seventh goal in this season’s Champions League — a new club record — a minute later seemed to have made up for that.
It was Trent Alexander-Arnold’s Buffon-esque save from Stephan El Shaarawy’s shot that really stuck in the craw. At 3-2 up and with Liverpool a man down with half an hour to go, Roma could have legitimately thought about a comeback that would have surpassed even the one they managed against Barcelona in previous round, but in the cold light of day it’s easy to see how ref Damir Skomina missed the handball.
Rallying back to refereeing decisions when things go against you is natural when you’re beaten and you know you should have done better. With a mountain to climb you need everything to go your way, and a couple of favourable decisions can get you to the peak quicker than you otherwise would have.
But the fact is Roma aren’t in the Champions League of their own doing, and if they want to build on this season’s joyous run to the semis they need to pick themselves up and secure qualification for next year’s competition.
Four points ahead of fifth place Inter Milan with three games left, a win at relegation-threatened Cagliari on Sunday night should nail down that all-important place in the top four.
Kwara Governor, Abdulrazaq Declares 24-hour Curfew
Following the outbreak of violence in some quarters of the State, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has declared a 24-hour Curfew on the state starting on Saturday.
Governor Abdulrazaq made this known in a statewide broadcast on Friday night.
Recall that on Friday some residents of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital stormed the warehouses where the government stored COVID-19 palliatives expected to be distributed to citizens.
Also Read: BREAKING: Lagos Government Relaxes Curfew
The warehouses, located at the cargo warehouse of the International airport in Ilorin as well as the agro-mall located in the Sango area of the state were totally ransacked as residents struggled to pack as much food items as they could.
Abdulrazaq said, “Lives are being threatened. Businesses are being looted. Public properties have been targeted. This is unacceptable. It is not who we are.
“To curb these acts of criminalities, I hereby declare a 24-hour curfew in Ilorin metropolis from midnight today October 23rd, 2020. This is in line with Sections 1, 2, and 4 of the Public Order Act Chapter 382 Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“People are urged to stay indoors in compliance with this curfew. This will be reviewed as we watch developments.
“Our observation is that what has happened today is not a protest, it cannot be defended under any guide, it was a pure act of criminality as some people are hiding under the guise of nationwide protest.”
Lagos Policemen Brutalise PUNCH Journalists For Covering #EndSARS Protest
Two PUNCH journalists, Femi Dawodu and Segun Odunayo, were on Wednesday brutalised by policemen guarding the Lagos State House of Assembly in Ikeja.
The duo had gone to cover events around the Alausa area, a major demonstration ground of the #EndSARS protesters calling for a total overhaul of the Nigeria Police Force.
According to the PUNCH, both Odunayo and Dawodu were recording a live video of activities in the area when the policemen accosted them and ordered them to stop the recording.
After showing the policemen their identity cards, indicating that they are journalists covering #EndSARS protests and monitoring compliance with the government-imposed curfew, the policemen became annoyed and pounced on them.
Odunayo said the policemen tortured them for four hours, adding that they stripped them of their clothes, laid them on the floor, beat them with a stick and guns, and took a video recording of them while torturing them at the Lagos State House of Assembly.
Odunayo said, “Femi and I were at the Secretariat in Alausa around 7 am and were doing a live video of the activities going on in the area. We were heading back to the expressway when a group of armed policemen accosted us at the Lagos State House of Assembly roundabout and immediately collected our phones. We showed them our ID cards, but they refused to let us go.
“What got the policemen annoyed was that we saw them using a stick and a rubber to beat a young man, and during the live video, they heard me saying that they were beating someone. So, after they arrested us, they tortured us and demanded that we should do another live video denying the statement, but we refused.
“Each Time we refused, they slapped us, used a stick to beat us, used the butt of their guns to hit our heads and bodies after stripping us of our clothes. All they wanted was for us to do another live broadcast to claim that we lied and we didn’t because we told the truth.”
Dawodu said it took the intervention of the state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi before they were released at the Alausa Police Station, adding that before their release, the policemen took their details, including their addresses, took a video record of them and threatened to go after them if any negative report was published about what happened.
He said, “The policemen were transferring the aggression of what is happening regarding the #EndSARS protest on us. They later took us to the Divisional Police Station in Alausa, and if not for the DPO, the policemen guarding the LSHA that arrested us would have done more grievous things to us.
“The PPRO and the DPO later spoke with them, and we were released.
“But despite his intervention, we were told to write statements. They collected our details, address, took video recordings of us making false statements during the torture, and threatened to use it to blackmail and go after us if we end up doing any bad report against them.”
CCTV At Lekki Toll Gate Was Not Removed -Lekki Concession Company Says
Lekki Concession Company in their press release has debunked the rumour that the Lekki Toll Gate CCTV camera was not removed.
According to the press release by the company which condemns the unlawful killings of the peaceful protesters said no one gave the order for the removal of the Closed Circuit Television System as the CCTV is still intact as of the time of this report.
Speaking further, the concession company revealed that if the CCTV was to be removed, it would require the use of machinery to reach the heights that they have been installed.
Read the release report below;
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