VERONA (REUTERS) – Jose Mourinho suffered his first defeat since returning to coach in Italy as his AS Roma side were beaten 3-2 by Hellas Verona in a thrilling Serie A encounter on Sunday (Sept 19).
A stunning volley from Verona captain Marco Faraoni proved decisive, ending Roma’s 100 per cent start to the Serie A season while earning his side their first win of the campaign.
Roma appeared to be on course for another three points in the pouring Veneto rain after Lorenzo Pellegrini had given the visitors a halftime lead with a sublime back-heel flick.
However, the game swung in the home side’s favour early in the second half as goals from Antonin Barak and Gianluca Caprari edged Verona 2-1 in front.
Ivan Ilic’s own goal as he beat Roma striker Tammy Abraham to a cross levelled things up in the 58th minute, before Verona again took the lead five minutes later through Faraoni.
Roma piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser but Mourinho’s men were left frustrated to sit second in the standings on nine points, with third-placed AC Milan playing Juventus later on Sunday.
“We didn’t play very well, we didn’t adapt well to their way of playing.” Mourinho told DAZN. “We lost many individual duels. I need the videos, I need a few hours to better understand what happened.” Verona moved out of the bottom three and up to 14th as new coach Igor Tudor got off to winning start after replacing Eusebio Di Francesco in midweek.
In Sunday’s other Serie A matches, Danilo Cataldi’s late equaliser salvaged a point for Lazio in a 2-2 draw at home to Cagliari, while Sampdoria and Spezia earned 3-0 and 2-1 away victories at Empoli and Venezia respectively.
Verona created plenty of promising openings against Roma early on in Veneto but chose the wrong pass every time, with the only moment of quality in front of goal in the first half coming via the deft flick of Pellegrini’s boot.
Roma full back Rick Karsdorp whipped a cross into the middle where Pellegrini darted across his man and let the ball through his legs before brilliantly guiding home his third league goal of the season.
Whatever Verona coach Tudor said at the interval seemed to work as Barak reacted first to the loose ball to level four minutes after the break.
Five minutes later and Caprari turned the match on its head, arrowing a piercing strike into the net to edge his side in front, but the home joy was shortlived as Ilic’s own goal put Roma back on level terms.
Faraoni took home the glory though with a spectacular winner, ensuring Verona beat Roma for the first time in Serie A in almost 25 years.