Quarter-finals or bust for Roma coach di Francesco
- Roma lead 2-1 after first leg
AS Roma coach Eusebio di Francesco could lead his team into the Champions League quarter-finals or be shown the exit door, depending on the outcome of their last-16, second leg tie at Porto tomorrow morning (Singapore time).
After a season of remarkable inconsistency, Italian media reported that di Francesco's job will be at stake when Roma defend a 2-1 lead away to the Portuguese champions at the Estadio do Dragao.
Former Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa is the favourite to replace di Francesco should he be fired, according to Italian media, who said the Portuguese will be in the stands for this match.
Another contender is former Roma defender Christian Panucci, who is currently coach of the Albanian national side.
Roma have not made any official comment on the coach's situation.
Roma had just got over their 7-1 Coppa Italia drubbing by Fiorentina in January when they were thumped 3-0 by neighbours Lazio in the Roma Derby last Saturday, further stretching the patience of the fans and the club directors.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Di Francesco himself admitted it was not good enough and was especially angry at Lazio's first goal, scored from a move which began with a throw-in.
"You can't concede a goal through the middle from a throw-in - it was all too easy for them. We got our marking wrong," he said.
"It can happen to anyone but it's been happening a bit too often to us this season.
"We really must work on the mental side of things. We seem to be on and off."
The 49-year-old led Roma to third place in Serie A and the Champions League semi-finals last season - his first at the club - and was rewarded with a new two-year contract.
Roma have been beaten by Bologna, SPAL and Udinese - all teams in the lower half of the table - and also managed to blow a two-goal lead at home to bottom-of-the-table Chievo, when they were held 2-2.
Then, in the space of four days in January, they squandered a three-goal lead at Atalanta to be held 3-3 before their seven-goal mauling by Fiorentina. - REUTERS