Roma spurned the chance to narrow the gap to the top three after being held to a goalless draw by ChievoVerona at the Stadio Bentegodi on Sunday lunch-time.
The Giallorossi dominated in terms of possession and chances, but were unable to find a way past a resolute Chievo rear-guard and above all an inspired Stefano Sorrentino.
As a result, Roma stay in fourth place and three points adrift of Juventus in third. Lazio can go level with their capital rivals with victory over Torino on Monday night.
Eusebio Di Francesco shuffled his pack after the midweek win in Europe handing Patrik Schick his first start in Giallorossi colours. The one-time Sampdoria man joined Gerson and Stephan El Shaarawy in attack, as Edin Dzeko started from the bench.
The early signs were promising and Roma – unbeaten in the past eight meetings with Chievo – made a strong start. The first clear cut chance fell to Maxime Gonalons only for the midfielder to see his glancing header saved by Sorrentino.
Nevertheless it was the hosts that came closest to breaking the ice in the opening stages, and after being put on the back foot for the opening quarter of an hour, Chievo hit back through Roberto Inglese who fired a close range effort against the crossbar.
Having been let off the hook, the visitors sought to reassert their dominance on the game and the Romans would have taken the lead had it not been for a brilliant double save from Sorrentino.
The veteran goalkeeper first kept out a classy flick from Schick before showing great reflexes to pick himself up and somehow stop the rebound from Gerson from point-blank range.
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A lot of Roma’s play passed down the left flank with El Shaarawy and Aleksandar Kolarov combining well throughout the first half and the latter in particular was a real threat swinging in some excellent deliveries.
However, Roma had nothing to show for their first half efforts as Chievo kept it goalless at the interval – a surprise considering the previous two meetings at the Bentegodi between the sides had produced a whopping 14 goals.
The pattern of the match continued in the same vein after the restart with Roma pushing forward in search of the opener: Kolarov went agonisingly close blasting a fierce effort a whisker wide of the far post from the edge of the area.
It was then the turn of Gonalons to go even closer, but Sorrentino was decisive once again tipping the Frenchman’s effort over the bar after a lovely assist from Schick.
A resolute Chievo rear-guard continued to hold firm and frustrate the Giallorossi sparking a change in the Roma ranks: on 64 minutes Dzeko was thrown into the fray replacing Gerson.
The Roma No.9 was immediately involved and went sliding in at full stretch on another teasing ball from Kolarov, but the Bosnian failed to get a touch.
At the other end, Roma breathed a sigh of relief when Inglese picked out Fabrizio Cacciatore at the far post only for the defender to volley wide of the mark from a tight angle.
In a last roll of the dice Di Francesco turned to Diego Perotti. The Argentine – the goal hero midweek – came on for El Shaarawy who failed to add to his impressive record of three goals in his previous two outings versus Chievo.
Roma threw everything forward with Schick coming desperately close only for man of the match Sorrentino to perform miracles once again and keep out the Czech’s effort with his foot.
De que planeta viniste Sorrentino pic.twitter.com/2HGEzOti56
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It would prove to be the last chance of the game for the visitors who had to settle for a share of the spoils against a Chievo side that confirmed their positive home form: the Gialloblu have now lost just one of their past seven outings at the Bentegodi.