IN Jose Mourinho’s 1,000th game as a manager, he replicated the ecstatic celebrations that introduced him to the world 17 years ago.
It was at Old Trafford where his Porto team stunned Manchester United with a late Champions League winner that led to Mourinho racing down the touchline, revealing to us all his trademark brand of fiery jubilation.
And, on Sunday night and now in charge of Serie A side Roma, the 58-year-old repeated the trick as a last-ditch strike sealed victory over Sassuolo.
The Giallorossi may not be about to win Europe’s most prestigious crown this season, unless the Europa Conference League rockets up in people’s estimations, but this goal – maintaining their 100 per cent start under their new boss – could also spark something special.
It was far from a straightforward evening at the Stadio Olimpico as Mourinho ticked over to four figures.
An opener straight off the training ground gave Roma the lead, Bryan Cristante getting the jump on the visiting defence to tuck away Lorenzo Pellegrini’s smart free-kick.
Filip Djuricic pulled Sassuolo level just before the hour mark and goalkeeper Rui Patricio was called upon multiple times to hold off the comeback.
Off the bench stepped Stephan El Shaarawy and the winger provided the magic with a pinpoint winner in injury time.
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Eldor Shomurodov’s knockdown fell for nicely El Shaarawy, who placed a curling effort off the inside of the post and into the opposite corner of the goal.
It sparked triumphant scenes in the Italian capital as fans rushed to the front of the home end to celebrate with their heroes.
Mourinho immediately sprinted down the touchline to join them and even jumped on striker Tammy Abraham as he got stuck into the mass of limbs.
Having made is managerial debut back in the year 2000, he is enduring a barren run of four years without a trophy – something that may soon change with Roma joining AC Milan and Napoli in making perfect starts to the season.
After the mayhem, the former Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Manchester United boss admitted to feeling like a kid amid the celebrations.
He told DAZN: “During the week I was a liar even to myself, I wanted to convince myself that it was not a special game. But it was special.
Today I was not 58 but 12 … It was a fantastic match.
“One thousand games is a lot and I didn’t want to lose, I was afraid of losing.
“It was an incredible feeling, this game could have finished 6-6 or they could have won, if not for Rui Patricio’s saves.
“We missed a few chances with a practically empty net. For the neutrals it was an extraordinary match.
“Today I was not 58 but 12, it was a child’s game. I have already apologized to [Sassuolo coach, Alessio] Dionisi. I congratulate them. It was a fantastic match.”
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