Roma fell into another nightmare, dropping their lead for a 3-2 defeat to Parma at the rain-soaked Stadio Tardini.
The Giallorossi fans were learning what a rollercoaster Zemanlandia can be after fighting back from 2-0 down to beat Genoa 4-2, then days later fumbling a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at home to Udinese. The tension got to Panagiotis Tachtsidis, who got himself sent off for sarcastically applauding the referee and was therefore suspended along with the injured Federico Balzaretti, Rodrigo Taddei and Bogdan Lobont.
Despite insisting Daniele De Rossi was not a central midfield ‘regista,’ Zdenek Zeman did choose him in that role with Michael Bradley on the right to begin with, but they switched during the game. Parma earned a surprise victory at Torino on Sunday, putting them comfortably in seventh place – just two points behind Roma.
There were fears this game would not go ahead due to heavy rainfall in the area, but the protective sheets on the Tardini turf did their job.
Erik Lamela has been on stunning form recently and opened the scoring when he pounced on a poor Cristian Zaccardo clearance and steered the angled drive across Antonio Mirante into the far bottom corner.
Aleandro Rosi sprung the offside trap against his former club, but the right-foot strike skimmed the bar. Jonathan Biabianu then mistimed his header from a Marco Parolo cross as Parma tried to fight back.
Pablo Daniel Osvaldo almost managed to intercept a Massimo Gobbi header back to the goalkeeper from six yards.
Parma lost striker Amauri to a suspected broken nose, making way for Ishak Belfodil. Nonetheless, they had a chaotic chance with a series of shots charged down and eventually Marquinhos cleared practically off the line.
Parma did get their equaliser when Dodo missed the long ball and Belfodil anticipated Leandro Castan to fire past Maarten Stekelenburg.
Roma have made a habit of fumbling leads and did it again at the Tardini. Belfodil sprung the offside trap and rolled across for Parolo, whose first attempt got caught in a puddle, but he was able to prod the follow-up past the goalkeeper.
The Giallorossi had a double dangerous opportunity on 41 minutes. Bradley got round the goalkeeper and pulled back for Lamela’s shot cleared off the line, then Osvaldo on the rebound was denied by Mirante.
Stekelenburg needed treatment during the first half and was replaced for the second, giving Goicoechea his Serie A debut. The South American needed a fine one-handed save within the first minute to deny a Belfodil header.
Parma added a third, again with the aid of the pitch, as the ball was barely rolling by now. The substitute goalkeeper did his best to deny Belfodil, but it was palmed into the path of Cristian Zaccardo, whose shot went in despite an Ivan Piris attempted goalline clearance.
It wasn’t over, though, as the referee awarded a penalty for Afriyie Acquah’s sliding tackle on Castan. Francesco Totti’s spot-kick was parried by Mirante, but the captain turned in the rebound.
Rosi tried to score with a lob from midfield that Goicoechea flapped out from under the bar. Parma had to play the final five minutes with 10 men after Belfodil’s second bookable offence on Marquinho, but they held on for the win.
Saved penalty: Totti 71 (R)
Sent off: Belfodil 85 (P)