Welp, that was a dud. The Giallorossi had a golden opportunity to solidify their hold on a top-four spot, with a win putting them joint-second with Inter at 43 points, but were ultimately forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against Lecce. An own-goal and offensive miscues doomed Roma on the night in what was a frustrating performance from the Giallorossi.
The expectation going into the match was that Roma would continue their winning ways, but as is so often the case, that expectation would be flipped on its head right from the off. Propelled by a hot start and two early goals last week, this time, it was, unfortunately, Roma’s turn to concede an early goal.
With the match still in its initial stages at the 7th-minute mark, the hosts won a corner, and the ensuing attempt would fall between a mesh of both Roma and Lecce players, with Lecce center-back Baschirotto making first contact and ultimately deflecting off Roger Ibañez for an own-goal to give Lecce the lead on the night.
Roma had a great opportunity to equalize ten minutes later after Stephan El Shaarawy found himself 1-on-1 with the keeper following a phenomenal back-heel pass from Tammy Abraham, but the winger, unfortunately, was unable to convert.
The ensuing corner would result in a penalty against Lecce for a handball in the box, and as we’ve seen so often this season, Paulo Dybala would step up to the spot and make no mistake, converting the penalty for the equalizer and his 8th goal of the season.
The equalizer ratcheted up the intensity as Lecce began to make the game physical, with both Blim and Umtiti dishing out crunching tackles in quick succession following Dybala’s goal.
The Giallorossi would continue to push for a second, and Tammy had a brilliant opportunity to score himself after Dybala found him making a run inside the box, but the Englishman couldn't put it past the Lecce shot-stopper.
The game would become increasingly chippy as the half came to a close, but the scoreline remained level as the players headed to the locker room.
Roma started the second half determined to get a second, and their attacking intent nearly paid immediate dividends when Tammy nearly converted a Lorenzo Pellegrini free-kick with a powerful header that required a stunning save from Falcone to keep the game level just four minutes into the half.
Roma would certainly go on to rue that Falcone save, as that was ostensibly their best attempt of the second half.
From that point on, Roma would struggle to break down a stubborn Lecce defense, and although Dybala was well up for it on the night—at times single-handedly willing Roma up the pitch—either the final ball was missing, or Falcone would make a fine save, the Lecce keeper having a sensational night.
Gini Wijnaldum finally made his long-awaited return from injury, and Ola Solbakken would notch another brief cameo appearance, but the home side would hold on for the draw, and the Giallorossi were forced to settle for a single point.
It’s certainly possible that Roma have one eye toward their Europa League fixture against RB Salzburg in midweek, but the performance on the night was extremely disappointing. Roma will remain in the top-four regardless of results elsewhere this weekend, but you can’t shake the feeling that this was a massive two-points dropped for Roma.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the highlights below. The official league highlights are available here.