STADIO LUIGI FERRARIS (Genoa) – Cristian Romero was the hero for Genoa as his late goal earned the Grifone a 1-1 draw against Roma on Sunday evening in Serie A.
It looked as if the Giallorossi had bagged all three points when Stephan El Shaarawy netted in the 82nd minutes, but the Genoa defender popped up in the 91st to get the equaliser. Antonio Sanabria also missed a penalty in the final moment of the game.
That leaves Roma three points behind fourth placed Atalanta in the race for Champions League football, with just three matches remaining.
It was an aggressive start from the home side who went close from a Miguel Veloso freekick which was poked wide of the post by Gianluca Lapadula, then the Portuguese midfielder drove a low shot just off target.
However it was Roma who went closest to scoring, as Federico Fazio leapt above the defence and with the ball on its way into the net, Andrei Radu pulled off a miraculous save, stretching to claw the effort out.
Moments later, Genoa should have been a goal to the good as Christian Kouame capitalised on a mistake from Alessandro Florenzi, but one-on-one with Antonio Mirante, he flashed his shot well wide.
A flurry of strikes came the way of Mirante’s goal with the best being a long distance effort from Ivan Radovanovic which went inches over the crossbar.
Edin Dzeko went close from a corner, shaving the top of the crossbar, while at the other end Lapadula wasted an almost identical chance for Genoa.
The game was extremely open and Lorenzo Pellegrini was next up to try his luck, and after good work from Florenzi and Dzeko put the midfielder in on goal, he sliced his shot wide of goal.
Then just before the break another excellent chance fell to Genoa, as Kouame got on the end of a corner and headed in the direction of Cristian Romero, who was free in the area, but his effort flashed wide of the post.
After the interval, Nicolo Zaniolo tried his luck from the edge of the penalty area, but Radu was alert as the ball went just over.
Lapadula tried the acrobatic but completely missed the ball, before the Genoa No.10 blasted over once again from inside the box.
Despite the match being open, neither side were able to fashion many more chances as the second half wore on, with Genoa resorting to counter attack football.
But eight minutes from time a seemingly innocuous ball forward, was then directed towards the far post by Dzeko and El Shaarawy made no mistake, firing low into the far right corner.
That looked to be the winner until Romero popped up in time added on to head home a Veloso corner and sent the Ferraris wild.
It could have been a lot worse for Roma after Mirante brought down Sanabria in the penalty are and referee Mazzoleni pointed to the spot. However, the Roma goalkeeper guessed correctly and saved the striker’s spot kick.
MORE THAN FORTUNATE
It could have been worse for Roma as relegation battlers Genoa were on top for long periods and arguably had the better chances before the final few moments. Lapadula was a constant menace and would have had a couple of goals if not for his haphazard finishing. His partner in crime Kouame was another causing havoc but the striker hasn’t scored since February and has had the most shots in Serie A without netting. It was the difference.