The all-new Roma were beaten 3-1 by Sampdoria, but Pablo Daniel Osvaldo horribly wasted a potentially decisive penalty.
The Zdenek Zeman era is over and replacement Aurelio Andreazzoli made his debut on the Roma bench, looking for their first Serie A victory of 2013. He returned Daniele De Rossi and Maarten Stekelenburg to the starting XI in a new 3-5-2 system with Erik Lamela wide on the right, but had to do without Federico Balzaretti, Mattia Destro and the suspended Panagiotis Tachtsidis. Sampdoria were revived under ex-Lazio Coach Delio Rossi, who welcomed back Pedro Obiang from a ban, but lost Angelo Palombo and Eder.
Miralem Pjanic’s header and a Pablo Daniel Osvaldo angled drive were off target, but Michael Bradley wasted a golden opportunity by firing wide when the Samp defence inexplicably parted in front of him.
Sergio Romero had his palms stung by fellow Argentine Lamela’s rising strike down the right, then fingertipped a touched-on Totti daisy-cutter free kick round the base of the post.
Pjanic’s shot from 10 yards was charged down, possibly by an arm, but the referee waved away penalty appeals. He was correct to do so, as Andrea Costa had his hands clasped behind his back.
Samp introduced Gianluca Sansone for the second half and were immediately more aggressive. Roma thought they had taken the lead on 50 minutes when Totti’s shot was deflected for Lamela to fire in, but the flag was raised for an offside position. It proved to be a chaotic situation, as Lamela was not offside, but Marquinho was earlier in the build-up, so the linesman was right for the wrong reasons.
Moments later Sampdoria broke the deadlock instead, as they burst forward on the counter and Andrea Poli crossed to the left for Marcelo Estigarribia’s angled drive across Stekelenburg into the far bottom corner.
It was almost 2-0, as Stekelenburg got down well with one hand to beat away a Poli strike.
However, Daniele Gastaldello completely mistimed his intervention to hack down Osvaldo for a penalty. Osvaldo decided to take the spot-kick rather than Totti, who was not happy about the decision, and it proved to be a huge error, as he did a stuttering run-up and effectively passed it into Romero’s grateful hands. It was a shockingly bad penalty.
Moments later Sampdoria doubled their lead with a wonderful Sansone free kick that he curled over the wall and into the far top corner, though Stekelenburg seemed to see it late.
Nenad Krsticic drilled just wide, but Lamela pulled one back when Alessandro Florenzi’s cross was deflected into the air and the Argentine hit a low volley from 11 yards.
However, that hope lasted all of a couple of minutes, because Mauro Icardi was allowed a free glancing header from a corner. Marquinhos failed to mark the striker.
Romero sprinted off his line to smother at the feet of Nico Lopez. In stoppages the tension spilled out with a row between Coach Delio Rossi and Nicolas Burdisso, which saw the Sampdoria Coach sent off.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk
Saved penalty: Osvaldo 68 (R)