Roma close in on Champions League spot, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Roma close in on Champions League spot

Defenders Aleksandar Kolarov and Federico Fazio both scored in the second half as AS Roma closed in on the Champions League places with a 2-1 win over Bologna yesterday morning (Singapore time).

With the win, Roma consolidated fifth position in Serie A and are now just a point behind AC Milan who are in fourth.

"We couldn't afford to fall behind. We're happy with the three points, less so with the performance," said Roma coach Eusebio di Francesco.

"We didn't turn up in the first half. In the second half, we improved across the board. I changed a few things and I got the reaction I wanted."

Stephan El Shaarawy won a penalty in the 55th minute, which Kolarov converted.

In the 73rd minute, Roma doubled their lead when Fazio finished off with a half-volley into the bottom corner. Nicola Sansone pulled a goal back for Bologna six minutes from time to ensure a nervy finish.

Roma extended their unbeaten run to seven league games, while Bologna are in 18th place on 18 points. - AFP

Bundesliga leaders Dortmund drop points again

Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund managed only a 0-0 draw at bottom club Nuremberg yesterday morning (Singapore time) to see their gap at the top cut to three points, after their third straight draw in the Bundesliga.

Dortmund are in the midst of a form crisis, having failed to win any of their last five games in all competitions. They have been eliminated from the German Cup, while also losing 3-0 at Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League last-16, first leg last week.

As expected, the Ruhr Valley club had the upper hand throughout but could not score, with Nuremberg goalkeeper Christian Mathenia in fine form and repeatedly denying Mario Goetze as the visitors had 18 shots on goal.

The goalkeeper also tipped a Paco Alcacer's low shot wide in the 86th minute and the Dortmund forward was ruled offside a little later after putting the ball in the net.

Dortmund are on 51 points. Champions Bayern Munich are in second place on 48 after their 3-2 comeback win at Augsburg on Friday. Borussia Moenchengladbach are in third a further five points behind. - REUTERS

Spain’s Super Cup set for a revamp

The Spanish Super Cup will be expanded to four teams, with two semi-finals and a final all to be played outside the country, under a transformation proposed by Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales yesterday.

The revamped Super Cup is set to start this August, with the winners and runners-up of both La Liga and the Copa del Rey qualifying under the new format, said Rubiales.

In the event that a team qualify both through the league and the Copa del Rey, the vacant place would be taken by the team with the best historical record in the Copa del Rey that had not already qualified for the Super Cup.

"We see an opportunity to promote the brand of Spain without attacking sporting principles," Rubiales told a news conference, without giving details of where the games in the "final-four" format event would take place.

The plans must first be approved by the federation's assembly at a meeting in April. He added that the RFEF plans to open a global centre of excellence for referees in Madrid and create a committee to fight homophobia in football.

Rubiales last year turned the traditional season clash between the La Liga champions and the Copa del Rey winners from a two-legged tie into a single game in Tangier, Morocco, where Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-1. - REUTERS