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Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored a debut goal to help Paulo Fonseca secure his first win as Roma coach in a 4-2 victory over Sassuolo, after Lazio fell to a shock defeat and Bologna moved into second place in Serie A on Sunday.

The Armenia international, who joined the capital club on loan from Arsenal on transfer deadline day, scored his side’s third goal as the visitors were all but put away in the first half.

Roma were 4-0 up inside 33 minutes thanks to Bryan Cristante’s header, a volley from Edin Dzeko, Mkhitaryan’s low strike and a composed finish from Justin Kluivert.

Serie A Club AS Roma have announced it has signed a three-year partnership with the Nigerian Football Federation.

The deal which was signed in Abuja will see Roma work with the NFF on Youth Development, Digital media initiatives and football administration in the country, while the NFF in return will help with Roma’s development initiatives in the country.

Present at the signing of the deal were Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare, NFF first vice-president, Barr. Seyi Akinwumi, 2nd vice-president, Shehu Dikko, AS Roma’s Head of Academy Massimo Tarantino, Ighodalo Ifada, Head of Africa, Sportfront GmbH and Paul Rogers, Head of Strategy at Roma who will be speaking today at the Africa Digital Sports Conference.

The visitors rallied in the second half through Domenico Berardi’s brace but it was too little too late.

The result moves Roma into seventh place on five points, four behind leaders Inter Milan, while Sassuolo are 12th after taking three points from their opening three games.

Earlier in the day, SPAL stunned European hopefuls Lazio as they came from behind to win 2-1 thanks to Jasmin Kurtic’s late winner.

Bologna went joint second after pulling off a remarkable comeback in Brescia, recovering from a 3-1 half-time deficit to win 4-3 after Daniele Dessena was sent off for the hosts shortly after the break.

Duvan Zapata scored a stunning stoppage-time strike to earn Atalanta a 2-1 victory at Genoa, while Cagliari won 3-1 away to Parma.

Speaking after the deal was signed, Massimo Tarantino said it will be a ground-breaking partnership for both parties.

“This promises to be an exciting and ground-breaking partnership for both parties,” said Manolo Zubiria, Chief Global Sporting Officer at AS Roma.

“This club is known throughout football for having one of the most accomplished youth development programmes in the world and in recent years, Roma has developed more players who’ve gone on to play professionally than any other club in Italy.

“Nigeria is a real football nation and we’re looking forward to sharing best practices in elite talent development and football business and administration with the Nigeria Football Federation. We’re also open to working with the N.F.F and their partners to assess the feasibility of one day opening an official AS Roma academy in Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, NFF President, Amaju Pinnick expressed his delight, saying it shows how far the NFF have come. “We are excited about this unique partnership with AS Roma,” said NFF President Amaju Pinnick.

“We have put in a lot of work to move our federation into a globally recognised space and the fact that Roma chose to partner with Nigeria over any other federation in Africa is an indicator of how much respect our brand and this country has in the world of international football.

“Roma is one of the most respected football clubs in the world, with a very good reputation for consistently developing talented young players.

We feel that this partnership can be incredibly beneficial for the Nigerian national team at all age levels and Nigerian football as a whole. Roma have shown an incredible support for the Super Eagles and have fully embraced Nigerian football fans, even launching a Pidgin Twitter account, and we look forward to unveiling the exciting projects and initiatives this partnership will unlock.”

Meanwhile, Roma’s Head of Strategy, Paul Rogers will be speaking at the Africa Digital Sports Conference today. The event which kicked off yesterday at Four Point by Sheraton Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos, will see the Briton speak on how Roma have been able to use the digital space grow their brand to where it is right now.

Other Speakers for today are Mario Leo, Results Sports Founder and Emeka Enyadike of Digital Sports Africa.

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