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AS Roma’s top-four hopes fade after draw at Sassuolo

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(Reuters) – AS Roma’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League took a huge blow on Saturday when they were held to a 0-0 draw away to Sassuolo in Serie A.

Edin Dzeko and Justin Kluivert both clipped the post in the second half before Federico Fazio thought he had scored the winner three minutes into stoppage time, only to see the goal disallowed due to Dzeko being offside in the build-up.

Roma earned an impressive 2-0 win over champions Juventus last weekend but failed to build on that result amid protests from the travelling supporters against the club’s decision this week to release captain Daniele De Rossi at the end of the season.

Claudio Ranieri’s side are in fifth place, two points behind Atalanta who face Juve in Turin on Sunday, and they will drop to sixth if AC Milan beat Frosinone.

“We tried everything until the end, it’s a pity,” Ranieri told DAZN. “I couldn’t have asked for more from the guys, as they particularly played well in the second half.

“The regrets are always the three points. Roma are a very good team but there are seasons when things just don’t go your way. You miss clear-cut chances, you hit the woodwork.”

Quality was lacking on a wet night in Reggio Emilia and Stephan El Shaarawy squandered a golden chance for the visitors after the break when he shot wide from 10 metres out.

Dzeko saw an effort hit the outside of the post before Roma were denied by the woodwork for a second time when a deflection off Kluivert hit the foot of the post and the Dutchman failed to capitalise on the rebound.

Fazio drilled in what looked to be a stunning late winner deep in injury time but it was quickly chalked off because of Dzeko’s offside position.

Roma host Parma in the final game of their league campaign next Sunday, while 10th-placed Sassuolo travel to Atalanta.

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; editing by Clare Fallon)

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