Vlada Avramov was the hero as Roma were made to rue a host of missed chances, drawing 0-0 with Cagliari at Stadio Olimpico.
Gervinho returned to the Giallorossi XI for the match with the Isolani, having been out through injury for the past month. Elsewhere, youngster Dodo played at left-back, with Mehdi Benatia and Leandro Castan at centre-back. For the Isolani meanwhile, they missed Radja Nainggolan, so Sebastian Eriksson, Daniele Dessena and Daniele Conti made up the midfield three. New goalkeeper Antonio Adan didn’t make the starting line-up though – Avramov kept his place in between the posts.
Rudi Garcia’s men went into the clash knowing that a win would see them go above Juventus to the top of Serie A. And they almost got off to the best possible start after just five minutes, when Gervinho snaked his way through the defence only to be denied by Avramov with a smart, near post save.
Maicon was being a constant nuisance down the right-hand side in the early exchanges – his pace and bursts forward were troubling the Sardinian side’s defence, and the Brazilian almost opened the scoring himself on 10 minutes, but his shot was again saved by the goalkeeper.
The home team weren’t having it all their own may however, as the visitors slowly got more into the game. Victor Ibarbo and Marco Sau were making some probing runs up front, but the Cagliari midfield were failing to find their forward targets.
The capital club were clearly the better side though, and showed their superiority midway through the half as a neat team move involving Daniele De Rossi, Maicon and Alessandro Florenzi eventually found its way to Miralem Pjanic, but the Bosnian couldn’t find the target with his shot.
It was that profligacy however that almost cost Roma late on, but Ibarbo’s close-range header was saved expertly by Morgan De Sanctis, whose low, one-handed save was greeted with cheers and sighs of relief from the Lupi faithful.
This all-action half wasn’t quite over there, as with just moments to go Gervinho hit the post with a header from six yards, and then Avramov denied Florenzi after he half-volleyed from close range.
After the break, the game continued in the same vein as the first, with Cagliari keeper Avramov having the match of his life. And once again, Maicon was his victim, with the defender firing a long-range effort into the top corner, only for the Serbian to tip the ball around the post.
The pressure was relentless from the hosts, with the Isolani virtually camped on the edge of the area for the entirety of the half – Garcia’s side though, just couldn’t breakthrough the stout resistance.
And amazingly, that’s how it stayed with Roma drawing yet another game as they failed in their bid to go above Juve at the summit.