Nicolò Zaniolo’s first half header should’ve given Roma victory, but a stoppage-time penalty for non-existent handball gifted Borussia Monchengladbach a point.
Both teams were struggling with an injury crisis, so had to revamp their line-ups. Gianluca Mancini was moved into a new midfield role, as Davide Santon, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Bryan Cristante, Nikola Kalinic, Amadou Diawara, Davide Zappacosta, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Cengiz Under were out of action, with Alessandro Florenzi only fit for the bench. Gladbach were top of the Bundesliga, but struggling in the Europa League so far. Alassane Plea, Tobias Sippel, Tobias Strobl, Matthias Ginter, Torben Musel, Raffael, Ibrahima Traore, Keanan Bennetts and Fabian Johnson didn’t make the trip.
Edin Dzeko – playing with a protective mask after fracturing his cheekbone – threaded through for Justin Kluivert, whose finish was deflected wide in the opening minutes under torrential rain.
However, Ramy Bensebaini went even closer, as he was unmarked to redirect a free kick from six yards on to the underside of the crossbar.
Moments later, Breel Embolo skimmed the far post with an angled drive, while Marcus Thuram – son of ex-Parma and Juventus defender Lilian – drilled wide.
After a period under siege, Roma started to emerge from their shell and Javier Pastore’s effort was deflected for a corner after his cheeky back-heel nutmeg at the by-line.
Patrick Herrmann turned his marker to fire over from a tight angle, but Roma broke through from a corner earned by Dzeko.
Nicolò Zaniolo peeled away from marker Stefan Lainer to get a free header from six yards and give the hosts the lead.
Dzeko had the ball in the back of the net moments later on the counter from a poor German corner, but Jordan Veretout’s through ball was a little late and the offside flag went up.
Kluivert wasted a promising opportunity, then Dzeko and Jordan Veretout attempts were deflected. The rain intensified in the second half, making it difficult for both teams.
Yann Sommer rushed off his line for a decisive save on Kluivert after the offside trap failed and Pau Lopez smothered a Lars Stindl snapshot.
Chris Smalling’s diving header from a Veretout free kick whistled wide and Dzeko’s strike was charged down from a Diego Perotti through ball.
Substitute Florenzi should’ve made it 2-0 in the final minute when sent clear by Dzeko, but drilled wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Moments later, Borussia Monchengladbach threatened at the other end, but couldn’t keep the ball down as he slid on to a cross at the back post.
There was huge controversy in stoppages, as Scottish referee Willie Collum awarded a penalty to the visitors for handball. However, replays clearly show it struck Smalling square in the chin. There is no VAR in the Europa League and the decision could not be overturned, so Stindl stepped up and converted with only 30 seconds to go.
Roma 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Zaniolo 32 (R), Stindl pen 95 (B)
Roma: Pau Lopez; Spinazzola, Fazio, Smalling, Kolarov; Mancini, Veretout; Zaniolo (Antonucci 77), Pastore (Perotti 62), Kluivert (Florenzi 84); Dzeko
Borussia Monchengladbach: Sommer; Lainer, Elvedi, Jantsche, Bensebaini; Herrmann (Hofmann 62), Kramer (Benes 77), Zakaria, Neuhaus; Thuram, Embolo (Stindl 77)
Ref: Collum (SCO)
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