After a week in which Roma outscored their opponents 9-1, seemingly putting their early season troubles behind them, many Giallorossi fans expected a victory over ninth-place Torino this afternoon. With Paulo Dybala, Romelu Lukaku, and Stephan El Shaarawy starting from the word go, Roma appeared to have enough firepower to overcome a stingy Torino defense that had conceded only four goals in its first four matches.
But we should have known something was amiss when Roma came out of the tunnel with mismatched uniforms, pairing their cream-black away tops with red-yellow home shorts. And when Duvan Zapata, who nearly joined the Giallorossi over the summer, tested Rui Patricio with a well-struck header in the 5th minute, it felt like we were in for a long evening at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino. Fortunately, Patricio read the play perfectly and made a textbook save, averting an early catastrophe.
With Torino poised to take the early initiative this evening, Dybala and Lukaku nearly stole their thunder in the 9th minute when they pulled off a give-and-go from the midfield stripe. While Dybala did well to chip the ball over the defense, giving Lukaku just enough lead time to run past the defense, the Belgian striker's shot skipped wide of the mark.
Despite that swift start, the match eventually got bogged down in the muck and mire, with neither side able to create any genuine scoring chances before the halftime whistle blew, a pattern that carried over to the second half.
After almost 70 minutes of stasis, Roma fans finally had a reason to celebrate as Romelu Lukaku took control of the ball, manhandling Alessandro Buongiorno en route to a 68th-minute goal. This gave the Giallorossi a clear advantage and put them in the position to earn three points... or so we thought.
As is so often the case with Roma, they saved the worst for last, conceding an 85th-minute free kick from approximately 35 yards out, watching in horror as Zapata breezed past Evan Ndicka, heading the ball past Patrico to steal a point nearly at the death.