Fonseca hails Roma resilience after win in Amsterdam

Roma coach Paulo Fonseca shakes hands with Roma midfielder Amadou Diawara at the end of the Uefa Europa League quarter-final football match between Ajax Amsterdam and AS Roma at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam April 8, 2021. — AFP pic
Roma coach Paulo Fonseca shakes hands with Roma midfielder Amadou Diawara at the end of the Uefa Europa League quarter-final football match between Ajax Amsterdam and AS Roma at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam April 8, 2021. — AFP pic

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AMSTERDAM, April 9 — Roma coach Paulo Fonseca hailed his injury-hit side’s resilience after their 2-1 away win over Ajax Amsterdam yesterday pushed them closer to the Europa League semi-finals.

“Ajax has a great team, as we saw, but our boys have delivered a fantastic performance,” Fonseca told reporters after the 2-1 victory in the quarter-final first leg at Johan Cruyff Arena.

“The tie is still completely open, but this victory is very important to us.”

Roma were a goal down at halftime and then gave away a penalty early in the second half but it was saved by goalkeeper Pau Lopez.

That proved the catalyst for their comeback, with Lorenzo Pellegrini and Roger Ibanez scoring to turn the tie Roma’s way.

“I think our players realise that we are going through a difficult time and therefore gave everything,” added Fonseca referring to the club’s injury woes, which were exacerbated by Lorenzo Spinazzola hobbling off in the first half yesterday.

“After his injury it became even more difficult, but we knew we could always score goals here, we had that confidence even in the tricky phases.

 “This is a great victory for us. It was a game full of excitement and intensity.

“We made it difficult for ourselves at times, but we controlled Ajax’s attacks, even though they are one of the best teams in Europe from an offensive point of view.

“The most important thing is that we never let our heads hang down, we kept going and finally came up with a response,” Fonseca added. — Reuters

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