Roma drop points as Sassuolo score late leveller
Milan: Serie A leaders Roma dropped two precious points to title rivals Napoli and Juventus after being stunned by an injury-time leveller at home to top flight newboys Sassuolo on Sunday.
Roma looked set to take their lead over Napoli and Juventus, who kick off later in Turin, to six points after Alessandro Longhi`s 19th-minute own goal gave the hosts a 1-0 lead at the Olympic Stadium.
However, Sassuolo refused to give up and were rewarded in the fourth minute of injury time when Domenico Berardi smashed the ball high into Morgan De Sanctis`s net as confusion reigned in the Roma area.
"That`s what happens when you don`t score the second goal," said Roma coach Rudi Garcia.
"But if we continue to play like we did today we will win other matches. We are still in first place."
Ahead of Napoli`s visit to Juventus, Roma now lead both by four points having slumped to their second draw in as many games, a week after Torino brought an end to the Giallorossi`s record 10-match winning streak.
Elsewhere, Marko Livaja scored a late winner for Atalanta to give the Bergamo side a 2-1 win at home to struggling Bologna while Cagliari moved up two places in the table to 13th after a Daniele Conti double helped secure a 2-1 win at home to Torino.
Parma also grabbed a share of the points at home to Lazio after Alessandro Lucarelli levelled Keita Balde`s 50th minute opener.
The goals were few and far between in Sunday afternoon`s matches, however, with basement side Chievo securing a precious point while holding under-pressure AC Milan to a scoreless draw at home.
Milan, who had Riccardo Montolivo sent off late in the second half, moved up to 10th but Massimiliano Allegri`s side are 19 points behind Roma and 15 off the first Champions League places.
Roma dominated Sassuolo for the opening 60 minutes and should have scored several goals to put the match beyond reach.
The leaders took an early lead when Longhi turned the ball into his own net after what looked like an attempt to clear over the crossbar after goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo had saved Alessandro Florenzi`s shot.
Rudi Garcia`s side suffered a blow during the half when Marco Borriello was forced off with an ankle injury and replaced by American midfielder Michael Bradley.
However, the hosts spurned several scoring chances and were left to pay the price late on when Berardi smashed the ball home as Roma`s defence panicked with the ball running loose in the area.