Search icon


09th Apr 2021

Roma player gives dignified response after angry Ajax ballboy launches ball at him

Simon Lloyd

Riccardo Calafiori had the ball launched at him from a couple of yards as the game drew to a close

Thursday’s game with Roma was, make no mistake about it, an incredibly frustrating night for all connected with Ajax.

Despite having the better of their Europa League quarter-final against the Italian side, the four-time European champions failed to build on Davy Klaassen’s opener, which had given them a half-time lead in Amsterdam.

A missed Dusan Tadic penalty early in the second half was followed by two Roma away goals – the first a Lorenzo Pellegrini free-kick, which was fumbled by Kjell Scherpen, then a late winner from Ibañez.

Paulo Fonseca’s side were in no rush to restart play whenever the ball went out for a throw in the game’s final stages, much to the annoyance of one of Ajax’s ballboys.

Deep into stoppage time, as the ball went out for a Roma throw midway through their own half, Riccardo Calafiori ambled across to take it, eating up every second he possibly could in the process.

Angered by this, a ballboy launched the ball at him from a couple of yards away, prompting a brief exchange of words between the two.

Calafiori was booked for his troubles, but later acknowledged that he understood the ballboy’s actions.

“Probably seeing an opponent wasting time would’ve irritated me, as well,” the 18-year-old defender is quoted as saying by Eurosport’s Siavoush Fallahi. “I don’t say I respect him, but it’s something that can happen.”

Roma will hope to seal their passage to the semi-finals when they host the Dutch club next week, the winners of the tie likely to face Manchester United, who beat Granada 2-0 in Spain, for a place in the final in Gdansk.