Jose Mourinho was shown a straight red card as AS Roma’s frustrations boiled over during a 1-0 home defeat to high-flying Atalanta.
The visitors struck the only goal of the game when teenager Giorgio Scalvini fired in a composed finish on 35 minutes.
Roma missed a handful of good chances but also toiled for long spells, leading to Mourinho being given his marching orders for venting his irritation at the referee when he refused to award the hosts a second-half spot kick.
The Giallorossi had suffered a blow ahead of kick off when the in-form Paulo Dybala was replaced by Nemanja Matic after pulling up injured in the warm-up. The home side seemed to miss the Argentine’s invention as they struggled to create much of note, even when the visitors were forced to substitute goalkeeper Juan Musso following a collision with his own teammate on eight minutes.
The visitors grew stronger as the half wore on and stole in front when the 18-year-old Scalvini guided a superb 20-yard shot into the bottom corner following neat build up down the right.
Roma eventually responded but were thwarted by substitute keeper Marco Sportiello who produced brilliant saves to deny Tammy Abraham and Roger Ibanez.
Roma upped the tempo in the second half but Abraham, Nicolo Zaniolo and Ibanez all saw chances go begging before substitute Eldor Shomurodov headed their best opportunity wide right at the end.
The result sees Atalanta move one point clear of Udinese at the Serie A summit with only Napoli and AC Milan still to play this weekend. Roma are four points further back in sixth spot.
Following the international break, Roma will visit Inter on Saturday October 1 while Atalanta host Fiorentina a day later.
La Dea continue to shine as Jose’s woes resurface. Just over a week ago there was plenty of doom and gloom surrounding Roma after two disappointing defeats had blotted a strong start to the season. They followed it up with two morale-boosting victories, but will now head into the break with more criticism ringing their ears. It’s certainly been a rollercoaster period and Mourinho’s angry reaction which saw him sent off for objecting to a refereeing decision that was ultimately correct, perhaps shows the pressure he is currently feeling.
The Portuguese coach had suggested his team need to be meaner in attack prior to this contest and this was further evidence of what he was complaining about. The hosts created enough chances to win the game despite being far from their best, but were profligate throughout. It remains an area they will need to remedy quickly when Serie A resumes if they are to keep up with the league’s pace-setters.
In contrast, Atalanta continue to surprise, securing their best-ever start to a top-flight season with this notable victory. They rode their luck at times but Gian Piero Gasperini deserves huge praise for moulding a side that look capable of punching with the heavy-hitters of the division for the rest of the campaign.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Marco Sportiello (Atalanta). The reserve goalkeeper was thrust into the action in an intense atmosphere but stood up to the test. He handled everything Roma threw at him, producing some particularly important saves right at the end of the first half.
AS ROMA: Rui Patricio 6; Mancini 7, Smalling 6, Ibanez 7; Celik 6, Cristante 6, Matic 6, Spinazzola 6; Pellegrini 6, Zaniolo 6; Abraham 6. Subs: Belotti 6, Shomurodov 5, Zalewski n/a.
ATALANTA: Musso 5; Toloi 7, Demiral 7, Scalvini 8, Hateboer 7, De Roon 7, Koopmeiners 7, Ederson 7, Maehle 7, Pasalic 7, Hojlund 7. Subs: Sportiello 8, Muriel 6, Okoli 6, Lookman 6, Malinovsky n/a.
35’ – GOAL! – AS Roma 0-1 Atalanta. Scalvini breaks the deadlock with a composed, well-placed 22-yard strike into the bottom corner after a smart cut back from the right by Höjlund.
43’ – AS ROMA CHANCES! Abraham chests down a through ball and pokes the ball past the keeper – but it rolls beyond the far post and wide! Roma come again as Abraham sends Ibanez clear, but his stabbed effort is brilliantly blocked by the advancing Sportiello.
45’ – AS ROMA CHANCE! The sub keeper is at it again as he thwarts Abraham’s near post flick following a slick move down the left.
57’ – MOURINHO SENT OFF! Jose is furious that a penalty was not given following a tussle between Zaniolo and Okoli and passionately vents his frustration at the official. It can only end one way and the Roma boss is shown a straight red card!
60’ – ATALANTA CHANCE! Roma fail to deal with a right-wing corner but Abraham is well placed to hack a deflection off a teammate off the line.
88’ – AS ROMA CHANCE! Eldor Shomurodov rises at the back post to meet a clipped ball from the right but plants his free header wide.