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Salah assists as Roma drop points against Atalanta
The hosts came from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 against Champions League hopefuls Roma, only for Roma icon Francesco Totti to equalise in the closing stages of the game.
All three Atalanta goals came from former Roma players in the form of Marco D’Alessandro and a Marco Borriello brace, as Roma failed to capitalise on several chances falling to Edin Dzeko.
Atalanta XI: Sportiello; Toloi, Masiello, Paletta, Drame; Migliaccio, Freuler, Kurtic, D’Alessandro; Gomez, Borriello.
Roma XI: Szczesny; Rudiger, Manolas, Zukanovic, Digne; De Rossi, Nainggolan, Florenzi; Perotti, Salah, Dzeko.
Following Inter’s 2-0 win over title contenders Napoli last night, Roma knew going into the game that a win would put them level with the Partenopei on points. Atalanta knew that a win would effectively secure their place in Serie A next season, even if it doesn’t do so mathematically.
Following a good spell of early chances from the home side, it was Roma who took the lead in the 23rd minute after a clever pass from Argentine winger Diego Perotti, then an accurate right-footed finish from the French left-back Lucas Digne past Sportiello.
Atalanta tried to find their way back into the game, and almost did so through their own Argentine winger Alejandro Papu Gomez, however he failed to capitalise.
Moments later, Roma collected the ball deep in their own half and started a fine counter attack; Dzeko’s clever through ball found Salah who held up the ball before passing to Belgium international Radja Nainggolan, who wrong-footed the young keeper to give Roma a two goal cushion after 27 minutes.
The Bergamo side seemed dead and buried, until former Roma player Marco D’Alessandro scored after another swift counter-attack in the 33rd minute. Gomez’s pass across goal found the Italian winger, who finished well under pressure from Szczesny.
The goal meant that Atalanta really began to pile on the pressure, and that pressure paid off. Eight minutes to half time, another former Roma player Marco Borriello got his first goal in an Atalanta shirt from a signature header following a Gomez corner to equalise.
Roma now had the onus to score, and they had the chance to regain the lead through Edin Dzeko, however his lack of confidence showed when he took it round Sportiello only to blaze his shot over the bar from effectively an open goal.
Early on in the second half, the comeback was complete. Papu Gomez was the creator once again after his trickery beat German international Rudiger, before a low cross that found Borriello who finished well to get his brace and send La Dea fans into euphoria.
Although Roma needed a goal to capitalise on the Napoli loss the day before, they struggled to create chances against the sturdy Atalanta back four, which forced Spalletti to bring on Francesco Totti.
Following a few good chances missed by Edin Dzeko, it was the Roma club legend who found the net in the dying minutes of the match with a half volley from the edge of the box, which was too powerful for Sportiello to keep out despite him getting a hand to it.
Totti again made his influence shown with a clever through ball to Edin Dzeko in the last few minutes, however he couldn’t get a solid connection on his shot. Neither side were able to create many chances from there and the game finished 3-3.
The result means that Roma have not only failed to capitalise on Napoli’s loss to Inter, but also that they are now in a scrap with Inter for the third and final Champions League qualification place, as they are now only four points clear of the Nerazzurri.
The Giallorossi, who are now third on 65 points, will host Torino on April 20.