Roma had to fight back in order to earn a 1-1 home draw against Marco Di Vaio’s Bologna.
The Giallorossi’s confidence took a big knock midweek with their 3-0 Coppa Italia quarter-final defeat to Juventus. They had been on great form after four consecutive Serie A victories, including a 2-0 away to Bologna before Christmas. Daniele De Rossi, Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Nicolas Burdisso were still injured, while the Rossoblu missed Panagiotis Kone, Simone Loria, Nico Pulzetti and the suspended Gaston Ramirez. Intriguing 19-year-old Saphir Taider was given a rare start and wore Bologna’s light blue away jersey, very reminiscent of Roma’s rivals Lazio.
In the opening minute Aleandro Rosi dispossessed his marker and pulled back for Francesco Totti to sting Jean-Francois Gillet’s palms. However, Bologna almost struck on the counter-attack when Marco Di Vaio tried to dribble past Gabriel Heinze rather than roll across to Taider.
Totti’s long-range blockbuster whistled just wide and Juan charged down Di Vaio’s shot at the near stick. Gaby Mudingayi had acres of space, but only aimed a weak finish into Maarten Stekelenburg’s arms.
Andrea Raggi really should’ve put Bologna in front on 37 minutes when a Di Vaio corner flashed past everyone to the back post, but the defender inexplicably shinned it wide from a yard!
Fabio Borini ran into the area only for his shot to be deflected inches past the near post. Straight after the restart, the Under-21 international ex-Chelsea striker threatened again with a marvellous volley just wide.
Di Vaio wasted an incredible opportunity on the counter-attack, as he out-sprinted Juan and went round Stekelenburg, but the Brazilian defender managed to get back for a decisive goalline clearance!
Gillet smothered a Miralem Pjanic strike from the edge of the box, but Juan was again caught out on a long ball by Di Vaio’s counter-attack and this time the veteran striker did not miss his angled drive across Stekelenburg.
Pjanic put Roma level only a few minutes later thanks to a spectacular free kick curled over the wall and in at the near post.
Bologna were still very dangerous on the counter-attack, as Di Vaio forced a desperate save from Stekelenburg’s outstretched leg. At the other end, a Bojan Krkic daisy-cutter was well palmed away by Gillet.
It was end to end stuff in the second half at the Olimpico, as Pjanic dribbled between players and shot from the D for Gillet’s one-handed save, but incredibly Fabio Simplicio fired the follow-up wide from point-blank range!
Bologna also continued to waste chances, as Taider’s header whistled wide from a set play.