Roma were held to a 1-1 draw against Wolfsberger at the Merkur Arena in the Europa League on Thursday, as they struggled to break through their determined Austrian opponents.
Leonardo Spinazzola gave the Giallorossi an early lead as he headed in from a corner, but Wolfsberger showed great resilience to soak up first half pressure and take the initiative after the break.
Their determination paid off in spectacular fashion, as Michael Liendl took advantage of a mistake at the back to rifle in a magnificent strike from the edge of the box and secure a share of the points.
Roma began strongly and almost went ahead in the early exchanges, as Javier Pastore threaded through for Nicolo Zaniolo on the counter and the Italian raced clear before cutting back for Justin Kluivert. The winger was denied at the back post by the outstretched boot of Schmidt to turn the ball behind.
Wolsfberger were not without a threat of their own, with the lively Lukas Schmidt causing numerous problems. Finding space, he whipped a fine cross in for Marcel Ritzmaier and the resulting close-range deflected header forced a magnificent Antonio Mirante save at full stretch.
After enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Roma finally broke the deadlock through an unlikely source just before the half-hour mark. Pastore’s deep corner was met by Spinazzola, and the defender’s deflected header somehow bobbled through a crowd and over the line.
Trailing at the break, the hosts came flying out of the traps and levelled within minutes of the restart in spectacular style. From a Roma goalkick, Shon Weissman intercepted a loose Bryan Cristante pass before teeing up Liendl to fire a vicious strike into the top corner from the edge of the box.
The goal gave the Austrian outfit confidence and they pushed forward freely, with Weissman shooting straight at Mirante when clean through.
At the other end Roma still posed a danger, particularly through Zaniolo. The Italy international held the ball up in a crowded box before releasing to Cristante and collecting his teammate’s reverse pass, but sliced wide with the resulting shot.
Roma had shouts for a late penalty turned down as Nikola Kalinic’s shot on the turn appeared to come off the hand of Nemanja Rnic, but their claims were waived away and they ultimately had to settle for a point.
The draw leaves both sides level on four points in Group J, ahead of Borussia Monchengladbach and Istanbul Baseksahir.