Miralem Pjanic and Fernando Gago gave Roma a 2-1 win over Lecce, but they wasted numerous chances and had a corker incorrectly chalked off.
Eusebio Di Francesco won the Scudetto for Roma in 2001, but insisted past the initial emotion of stepping into the Stadio Olimpico, “the only Giallorossi jersey in my mind will be Lecce’s.” The Salentini got back on track with a surprise win at Cesena, though their only victory in Rome ended up costing the title in 1986.
Luis Enrique welcomed back Francesco Totti after a month out, but he was on the bench alongside Jose Angel, as Erik Lamela and Rodrigo Taddei were picked instead. They missed Nicolas Burdisso, Fabio Borini and David Pizarro. Lecce were without David Di Michele, Guillermo Giacomazzi, Souleymane Diamoutene, Djamel Mesbah and the suspended Luis Muriel.
Miralem Pjanic surprised the defence to sneak on to a Taddei cross, but couldn’t get clean contact. Another Taddei ball across the face of goal saw Bojan Krkic come sliding in just a fraction too late.
The Giallorossi eventually broke through after 25 minutes of consistent pressure. Taddei was again involved, as he exchanged passes with Daniele De Rossi and rolled across the six-yard box for Pjanic to tap in from point-blank range.
Moments later Pablo Daniel Osvaldo tried the same with Bojan, but this time Nenad Tomovic managed to block in front of an open goal.
Bojan couldn’t believe he failed to score on the half-hour, as Lamela got to the by-line and rolled it past the goalkeeper to the Spaniard’s feet, but the youngster somehow scuffed his finish from a yard!
Lecce finally threatened with Daniele Corvia’s looping header from a free kick, but Moris Carrozzieri fouled Maarten Stekelenburg. Straight up the other end and Julio Sergio rushed off his line to clear from Osvaldo and there was a nasty collision with Carrozzieri. The veteran ex-Palermo defender was stretchered off with a suspected sprained ankle, so the Lecce back four was reshuffled.
Pjanic needed a sliding tackle to stop Carlos Grossmuller pulling the trigger from a Corvia pull-back.
Roma doubled their lead after the restart with a moment of magic from Fernando Gago. The midfielder picked up the ball a good 25 metres out and thumped a powerful effort that bounced right in front of Julio Sergio to slot into the far corner. It was only the second European League goal for the ex-Real Madrid man.
Lamela should’ve made it 3-0 moments later, but somehow pulled the finish wide of an open goal after carving the Lecce defence apart with help from Taddei. Osvaldo stung Julio Sergio’s palms from a Gago assist, while Bojan sprung the offside trap from Lamela’s through ball only to fire over.
It wasn’t over, though, as Lecce got back into the game with ex-Roma starlet Andrea Bertolacci. The loan player ran on to a deflected pass down the middle and smartly chipped Stekelenburg, as Simon Kjaer got the offside trap wrong.
Cuadrado threatened an immediate equaliser, but blasted over the bar, while Bojan again ballooned off target from a very promising position and made way for Totti.
Julio Sergio got down to palm away a Taddei snapshot, but Cuadrado’s angled drive flashed across the face of goal to scrape the base of the far post.
Osvaldo thought he had scored one of the goals of the season with a spectacular overhead kick into the near top corner, but the linesman incorrectly ruled it offside much to the Italian international’s frustration.
Leandro Greco and Totti skimmed the woodwork, then Corvia was booked for diving in stoppages.