ROME, MAR 13,
Claudio Ranieri got off to a winning start as Roma coach with Stephan El Shaarawy and Patrik Schick’s first-half goals enough to squeeze past lowly Empoli 2-1 in the Serie ‘A’ on Monday to keep in touch with the Champions League places.
Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked after the team’s elimination in the Champions League last-16 last week with Ranieri returning to the club he coached for 18 months until February 2011.
Captain Daniele De Rossi, Kostas Manolas, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Cengiz Under were all out injured with Edin Dzeko, Federico Fazio and Aleksandar Kolarov suspended.
It was nervy debut against a side which is just one point above the relegation zone.
El Shaarawy turned in off a corner after nine minutes for his ninth league goal this season only for Empoli to level when Roma defender Juan Jesus headed into his own net. Roma nearly conceded another when Giovanni Di Lorenzo sent just wide before Schick put the host back in the front after 33 minutes, jumping high to nod in his third league goal this season. Empoli looked to have scored a late equaliser when Rade Krunic fired into the goal on 89 minutes but a VAR review disallowed.
Roma remains fifth, three points behind Inter Milan, which occupies the final Champions League berth, and four adrift of third-placed AC Milan, with the city rivals going head-to-head on Sunday.
ROME, MAR 13,