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Leagues: Serie A

Teens rescue Mourinho’s Roma, 39-year-old Quagliarella shines

Rome (AFP) – Teenagers Cristian Volpato and Edoardo Bove came to Roma’s rescue on Saturday as Jose Mourinho’s side drew 2-2 with Verona, while Fabio Quagliarella made light of his 39 years to score twice as Sampdoria defeated Empoli 2-0 to boost their Serie A survival hopes.

With Verona 2-0 up, 18-year-old Volpato scored in the 65th minute, just three minutes after coming off the bench when he reacted fastest to a half-cleared corner.

Bove, 19, was then introduced in the 78th minute and six minutes later secured a point with a shot in off the post, again following a corner from Jordan Veretout.

Verona, coached by Igor Tudor, had been worth their 2-0 lead.

A free-kick, well-rehearsed on the training ground, from Czech star Antonin Barak gave them a fifth-minute lead. It was his 10th goal of the season.

They doubled their advantage on 20 minutes through French midfielder Adrien Tameze.

A third successive draw for Roma left them in seventh place, six points off the Champions League spots.

Before Saturday, former Juventus striker Quagliarella had only scored once this season, a penalty in October, but he rediscovered his form at a crucial time with goals in the 14th and 29th minutes against Empoli.

Sampdoria are now in 15th place in the table, five points above the drop zone.

“These are three very important points. There’s a long way to go in the championship but this victory gives us confidence,” the veteran striker told DAZN.

“I realise that I am a certain age but I will give everything and my last drop of sweat for this shirt,” added Quagliarella who has been on the scoresheet for the last 18 consecutive years in Serie A.

With 180 goals in the league from a career which has also taken in Torino, Ascoli, Udinese and Napoli, he is Serie A’s leading active scorer.

Ciro Immobile, 31, who has 19 goals this season for Lazio, is not far behind on 174 goals.

Later Saturday, top meets bottom in Serie A as leaders AC Milan visit tailenders Salernitana who have gambled on retaining their elite status by making wholesale changes since the turn of the year.

Milan may be top but in what promises to be a thrilling run, just two points separate the top three.

Seven-time European champions AC Milan took advantage of Inter Milan drawing at fellow title rivals Napoli to move top for the first time in two months last weekend and have had a full week to prepare for their match.

Inter — who are a point off Milan — face Sassuolo off the back of Wednesday’s demoralising 2-0 Champions League home defeat to Liverpool.

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