Roma sacked coach Di Francesco after Champions League exit

Eusebio Di Francesco has been sacked as Roma coach following the club’s Champions League last-16 exit to Porto.

A former Roma player, Di Francesco made his return to the club in 2017 and oversaw a fine campaign in his first year at the helm.

He led them to third place in Serie A in the 2017-18 season, though his biggest achievement was undoubtedly Roma’s run to the Champions League semi-finals, eventually coming unstuck 7-6 on aggregate to Liverpool.

However, this term things have been rather less impressive, as they sit fifth and 28 points adrift of the Serie A summit, while they lost 3-1 after extra-time away to Porto on Wednesday to end their participation in Europe for the season.

Club supporters were said to have angrily approached Roma officials – including sporting director Monchi – after Wednesday’s defeat in Portugal, and they have seemingly felt it necessary to relieve Di Francesco from his position as a consequence of their exit.

Roma president Jim Pallotta thanked Di Francesco for his efforts as coach.

He told Roma’s official website: “On behalf of myself and everyone at AS Roma, I’d like to thank Eusebio for his work and his commitment.

“Since returning to the club, Eusebio has always acted professionally and put the club’s needs ahead of his own. We all wish him well for the future.”

Under Di Francesco, Roma defied the odds in the Champions League last season, recovering from a 4-1 first-leg defeat away to Barcelona to book a place in the semi-finals, winning 3-0 in Italy – Kostas Manolas’ last goal proving decisive.

In the last four, they went close to pulling off a similarly impressive comeback after getting hammered 5-2 at Liverpool in the first meeting.

Two Radja Nainggolan goals in the final four minutes of the return leg saw Roma win 4-2, just falling short of forcing extra time.

Nevertheless, it will be an achievement long remembered by Roma fans, as it was the furthest they had been in Europe’s elite competition since 1984.

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