Catania-Roma has been suspended after 65 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch with the result at 1-1.
The Giallorossi had won their last four consecutive games in all competition, but hadn’t conquered the Stadio Massimino since 1970. Daniele De Rossi and Simon Kjaer recovered to start, while Bojan Krkic again completed the trident attack with Francesco Totti and Erik Lamela. Catania had Giovanni Marchese and Marco Biagianti suspended, while Maxi Lopez was only fit for the bench. It was a special game for Vincenzo Montella, who spent most of his playing career and started his coaching experience at Roma.
Curiously, there was a five-minute delay when starting this match because both goalkeepers had the same colour jersey, so Maarten Stekelenburg had to change. All Serie A games this weekend begin with a minute’s silence for the three people who died in the Costa Concordia cruise ship crash last night, while dozens are still unaccounted for.
Juan slipped in the pouring rain and sent Gonzalo Bergessio clear on goal, but De Rossi performed a decisive sliding tackle to intercept. A Pablo Barrientos header was wide, while Aleandro Rosi had penalty appeals for a clumsy Pablo Alvarez challenge.
Catania thought they had taken the lead on 23 minutes when a lucky ricochet left Bergessio unmarked in the box, but Kjaer was ready for a crucial goalline clearance.
It was only a warning, though, as from a Francesco Lodi free kick moments later Nicola Legrottaglie nodded in with Stekelenburg rooted to the spot.
However, Roma equalised with another dead ball situation. The corner found De Rossi for a free header at the back edge of the six-yard box, having got away from Potenza.
Bojan tried to chest down a chipped Totti pass, but lost his balance under pressure. A Catania counter-attack was accidentally sparked by a ricochet off goalkeeper Paolo Tagliavento, but the Giallorossi defenders were able to crowd out Bergessio.
The Elefantini had a fantastic chance on 41 minutes. The inspired Gomez pass over the top sent Barrientos running, but he rolled it across for the tap-in and Bergessio came sliding in a fraction of a second too late.
They threatened again moments later in a move inspired by Gomez. Barrientos delightfully chipped up the final pass for Bergessio, who hesitated for a moment and allowed Kjaer to charge down the shot for a corner from six yards.
Before half-time there was another amazing opportunity, as Gomez turned Rosi inside out only to flash his shot across the face of goal, skimming the far post.
The rain intensified in Sicily and the pitch became increasingly waterlogged as the second half kicked off. Juan discovered the state of the turf when his backpass became jammed in a puddle just inside the box, but he was able to hoof it clear at the second attempt. A long-range Alvarez snapshot skimmed the crossbar with Stekelenburg somewhat off his line.
After nine minutes of the second half, the referee asked the two captains whether they were alright to continue in the worsening conditions.
Bergessio’s pass flashed across the face of goal with Barrientos inches away from nodding in. Bojan also found space, but the strike was slowed considerably by the standing water. Stekelenburg smothered a Bergessio effort and play was halted again to test the bounce of the ball, but at the third attempt after 65 minutes it became clear the game could not continue in these circumstances.
The match has been called off and the final 25 minutes will be played at a later date.
Catania 1-1 Roma (suspended)
Scorers: Legrottaglie 25 (C), De Rossi 29 (R)
Catania: Campagnolo; Potenza, Legrottaglie, Spolli, Alvarez; Izco, Lodi, Almiron; Barrientos, Bergessio, Gomez
Roma: Stekelenburg; Rosi, Kjaer, Juan, Taddei; Simplicio, De Rossi (Gago 55), Pjanic; Lamela, Totti (Borini 58), Bojan