Thursday October 3 2019
EL: Roma draw with Wolfsberger

Roma picked up a point in Austria, as a Michael Liendl scorcher for Wolfsberger cancelled out the chaotic Leonardo Spinazzola opener.

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This was a top of the Europa League group showdown, as both teams won their opening fixture 4-0 against Istanbul Basaksehir and Borussia Monchengladbach. Edin Dzeko, Aleksandar Kolarov and Pau Lopez were rested, with Lorenzo Pellegrini, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alessandro Florenzi, Cengiz Under and Diego Perotti injured, so Nikola Kalinic got his first start.

Davide Santon ran a huge risk within 20 seconds, his weak back-pass forcing Antonio Mirante to rush a clearance as Anderson Niangbo came sprinting in.

Nicolò Zaniolo rolled across the six-yard box, beyond Kalinic, but forcing a desperate defensive interception before Justin Kluivert could get on the end of it.

The hosts had a great opportunity on 22 minutes, as Mirante made a difficult save on Marcel Ritzmaier’s deflected header, then fingertipped the follow-up cross off the head of Niangbo.

Roma took the lead with a bizarre goal from a corner. Leonardo Spinazzola’s header ricocheted off Ritzmaier from point-blank range, bounced back off Spinazzola and rebounded into the net.

Shon Weissman was under pressure and unable to do more than prod the ball straight at Mirante from 12 yards, while Kalinic and Javier Pastore fired well over.

After the restart, Kofler got down for a tricky one-handed save on Zaniolo’s low drive from the edge of the box, while Mirante denied a Weissman curler.

However, Wolfsberg equalised with a spectacular solo effort from Liendl. Spinazzola gave the ball away cheaply, but there was little anyone could do once Michael Liendl unleashed a swerving shot from 20 metres off the outside of the left boot, as it bent away from Mirante’s fingertips into the far top corner.

Pastore wasted a golden opportunity when shanking his half-volley wide from a promising position, while Kluivert and Zaniolo drilled wide of the near post.

Zaniolo also stung the goalkeeper’s gloves, but there was a risk when Ritzmaier blasted over on a counter with three against two. With the final kick of the game, the goalkeeper fumbled a Kolarov low cross, but Kalinic couldn't pounce on the rebound.

Wolfsberger 1-1 Roma

Spinazzola 27 (R), Liendl 51 (W)

Wolfsberger: Kofler; Novak, Sollbauer, Rnic, Schmitz; Schmid, Leitgeb, Ritzmaier (Wernitznig 92); Liendl (Schmerbock 88); Weissman (Schmidt 81), Niangbo

Roma: Mirante; Santon, Fazio, Mancini, Spinazzola (Kolarov 80); Diawara, Cristante (Veretout 82); Zaniolo, Pastore (Antonucci 77), Kluivert; Kalinic

Ref: Martins (POR)

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