Salah an issue as Roma visits Fiorentina in 1 vs. 2 matchup
ROME (AP) Mohamed Salah’s move from Fiorentina to Roma has been a hot topic of debate ahead of an enticing matchup between the two clubs in Serie A this weekend.
FIFA opened a breach of contract investigation last month regarding Salah, which could result in the player being sanctioned and a transfer ban for Chelsea, which holds his rights.
Fiorentina challenged Chelsea’s right to let the Egypt winger join Roma on a season-long loan in August. Salah scored nine goals in all competitions over the second half of last season on loan at Fiorentina, which claims it had an agreement to extend his stay.
”The matter is certainly not over,” Fiorentina chief executive Sandro Mencucci said this week. ”FIFA will decide if Salah’s behavior was fair or not. If it wasn’t fair then he can be sanctioned as FIFA deems fit.”
FIFA typically takes months to rule on contractual breach claims. If proven, sanctions include four-month bans for players and one-year bans on clubs registering new players.
”Everyone has their own view. But we don’t have anything to do with this case,” Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini responded. ”Salah won’t be banned because even the minimal reasons don’t exist to do so.”
Salah has scored four goals in eight Serie A matches for Roma, which is one point behind surprise leader Fiorentina.
Inter Milan, which is level on points with Roma, visits Palermo on Saturday and could take the provisional lead before the Fiorentina-Roma match a day later.
Also this weekend, it’s: Empoli vs. Genoa; Carpi vs. Bologna; Sampdoria vs. Hellas Verona; AC Milan vs. Sassuolo; Juventus vs. Atalanta; Udinese vs. Frosinone; Lazio vs. Torino; and Chievo Verona vs. Napoli.
Here are a few things to know about Serie A entering this weekend’s games:
Through 80 Serie A matches this season, only two games have finished 0-0 – the first time that has happened in 65 years.
For a league long known for its ”catenaccio” or lock-down defenses, this season has represented a big shift toward attacking.
Roma leads the offensive outburst with 20 goals, followed by Napoli with 18 and Fiorentina with 15.
The only scoreless matches were Carpi-Napoli in Week 5 and Inter-Juventus last weekend.
In 1985, by contrast, Hellas Verona won the league with eight scoreless draws in 30 matches.
AC Milan is struggling in 13th place and was submerged into more misery with a 1-0 loss to Inter in a friendly derby Wednesday.
Prized midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia scored his first goal since joining Inter in the Trofeo Luigi Berlusconi, an exhibition created to honor the father of Milan president Silvio Berlusconi.
”I would have preferred to win,” Silvio Berlusconi said, before being asked about Milan’s poor start. ”I’m not commenting. You know the story. When you win you talk, when you lose you keep quiet.”
Milan has won just three matches under new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, and striker Mario Balotelli remains questionable due to a groin injury.
On Sunday, Milan hosts a Sassuolo side that is surprisingly in fifth place.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was widely criticized for putting forward Paulo Dybala on for only the final 10 minutes of a 0-0 draw with Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Champions League on Wednesday.
It was Juve’s second consecutive scoreless match after being held goalless by Inter at the weekend.
Dybala has three goals in seven Serie A matches and has played well alongside Alvaro Morata. But Mario Mandzukic and Juan Cuadrado lined up alongside Morata for most of the game against `Gladbach.
Andrew Dampf can be followed at www.twitter.com/asdampf