Roma, Napoli fall out of contention for Champions League spots

Rome, Jul 2 (efe-epa).- Roma lost 2-0 here Thursday to lowly Udinese, a result that left the hosts 12 points out of the fourth and final Champions League berth with nine matches left in the Serie A season.

While Napoli, already a long-shot for Champions play in 2020-2021, lost 2-0 to fourth-place Atalanta.

Days after the firing of sporting director Gianluca Petrachi over differences with the club’s bosses, Roma suffered an embarrassing home defeat at the hands of a Udinese squad’s who hadn’t won in Serie A since Jan. 12.

Kevin Lasagna put the visitors ahead in the 12th minute and nearly got a second in the opening period. Ilija Nestorovski scored in the 78th minute to lift Udinese to 15th-place with 31 points, 6 above the drop zone.

Rodrigo De Paul, formerly with LaLiga side Valencia, assisted on both goals.

Roma, now fifth with 48 points, played more than a hour with 10 men, as Diego Perotti was sent off in the 29th minute on a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Udinese’s Rodrigo Becao.

Earlier Thursday in Bergamo, Atalanta extended their winning streak to seven, blanking Napoli on goals by Mario Pasalic and Robin Gosens.

Napoli came into the match with a big head of steam after sixth straight Serie A victories and their Coppa Italia triumph, but could not overcome a home side who are looking more and more like a legitimate contender for “big club” status.

Atalanta, with 60 points, are secure in possession of fourth place and trail Inter Milan by only 4 points. Napoli are sixth with 45 points from 29 matches.

After holding their own in the first half, the visitors conceded twice in 10 minutes with Alex Meret between the posts in lieu of starting goalkeeper David Ospina, stretchered off at the half-hour mark with a head injury.

Ospina, 31, lay on the pitch for several minutes after colliding with teammate Mario Rui and Atalanta defender Mattia Caldara.

The Colombian suffered a visible cut on his head and Napoli players and staff looked on with concern as he was carried off the field.

After receiving first aid, Ospina was back in the stands for the second half. EFE am/dr

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