Erik Lamela’s brace was not enough to stop Udinese coming back from 2-0 down to beat Roma 3-2 with the cheekiest of Antonio Di Natale penalties.
The Giallorossi were looking for a third consecutive victory and had Mattia Destro back on the bench, but surprisingly picked summer signing Dodò for his Serie A his debut after 11 months out with a knee injury. Federico Balzaretti, Rodrigo Taddei and Bogdan Lobont were out injured. Udinese needed a boost after Thursday’s Europa League defeat to Young Boys and missed Luis Muriel, Dusan Basta, Mehdi Benatia, Giovanni Pasquale, Giampiero Pinzi and the suspended Danilo.
After four minutes Pablo Daniel Osvaldo’s give and go with Daniele De Rossi concluded with a header well parried by Zeljko Brkic. Erik Lamela fought past two defenders only to prod the angled drive well wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Lamela did get his strike on target, stinging Brkic’s palms, then the Argentine steered a free header wide from Dodo’s cross. At the other end, Maicosuel tested Maarten Stekelenburg on the volley.
Lamela did eventually get the goal when he gathered a loose ball and at the by-line feinted a cross back into the middle for Miralem Pjanic, but instead rolled it in at the near post where the goalkeeper had left the tiniest of gaps.
Just moments later Lamela had his second at the end of a well-worked move. Totti prodded a through ball with the outside of his boot for Osvaldo, who drew out Brkic and chipped the cross for a Lamela diving header into the empty net.
Roma were running riot and Brkic ran off his line to close down Osvaldo, but Lamela pulled it back and desperate defending intercepted.
Udinese got back into the game, as a free kick was not cleared properly and knocked down for Maurizio Domizzi, who kept his cool to beat Stekelenburg from 10 yards. Any offside position would not apply, because it was Osvaldo who got the last touch.
It was almost 2-2 soon after, as Ivan Piris deflected an Andrea Lazzari cross inches past the upright, then Maicosuel, Lazzari and Di Natale combined with one-touch football for the captain to eventually steer an angled drive just wide.
Brkic smothered an Osvaldo strike at the end of a great team move, as Roma tried to get back some of that early verve.
Udinese completed the comeback from 2-0 down to equalise, as Stekelenburg parried the Di Natale effort, but the move continued and Pablo Armero’s wayward shot became an assist for Di Natale to redirect as he spun round from nine yards.
Roma were shell-shocked and Maicosuel just failed to get on the end of a Di Natale ball across the face of goal. Osvaldo sprung the offside trap down the left only to blast over the bar, while Osvaldo’s dummy allowed a Marquinho cross through for De Rossi to prod inches wide of the upright.
Stekelenburg, Marquinhos and Leandro Castan had to combine to close down Maicosuel’s solo run, then Totti and Lamela snapshots skimmed the upright.
Brkic smothered a Totti through ball at Alessandro Florenzi’s feet as Roma began to pin Udinese into their own final third and a siege mentality set in. Surprisingly, Zeman threw on Destro for captain Totti.
Udinese went on the counter and there was controversy in the final minutes, as Roberto Pereyra fell under pressure from Castan and at first the referee waved play on, but changed his mind after an alert from the goal line judge. It seemed a rather harsh decision, as Pereyra did little to stay on his feet. Di Natale stepped up and cheekily chipped it over Stekelenburg for a Panenka-style penalty, completing the comeback from 2-0 down to 3-2 up.
It got even worse for Roma, as Panagiotis Tachtsidis got himself sent off by sarcastically applauding the referee to his face.
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Sent off: Tachtsidis 92 (R)