AS Roma grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat against the bottom Serie A (SA) side Salernitana thanks to goals from Carles Pérez and Chris Smalling. This maintained Roma’s quest for a UEFA Champions League (UCL) place despite Davide Nicola’s side leading for over 80 minutes.
Roma’s immediate mission was to overthrow city rivals Lazio in the SA table and only a victory would do that as ‘La Lupa’ chased a place in next season’s UCL. Roma midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan tested Salernitana goalkeeper Luigi Sepe with a shot the Parma loanee pushed over the bar. Not to be overawed by the situation at a full Stadio Olimpico, ‘I Granata’ hit back with a chance of their own which was quite similar with Rui Patrício palming over an Éderson drive. Roma were more considered in their attacks and dominated large parts of the first period, Mkhitaryan went close again, latching onto a Stephan El Shaarawy driving run.
Surprisingly, the script was duly ripped up when Salernitana opened the scoring with a superb strike from Radovanović. Was there a shock on the cards? Considering Salernitana had failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 23 games, perhaps not. Visiting defender Norbert Gyӧmbér almost handed Roma a lifeline just before HT when he brought down Felix Afena-Gyan, seemingly in the penalty area. However, referee Manuel Volpi was asked by VAR to have another look, and he agreed that the initial contact was outside the box. The resulting free-kick came to nothing for a frustrated Roma fanbase.
Salernitana had a good opportunity to add to their lead at the start of the second half when Milan Đurić squared for Lassana Coulibaly, however his shot cleared the crossbar. Roma kept knocking on the door in the second half with no real standout chances in the early stages. In fact, Davide Nicola’s side almost scored a second goal when Grigoris Kastanos’ shot was superbly saved by Patricio.
The equalising goal for Roma came with nine minutes to go, courtesy of a stunning strike from Carles Pérez. Moments later, the home side went in front thanks to Chris Smalling tapping home at the back post to give Jose Mourinho’s men all three points and reclaim fifth place. Meanwhile, Salernitana remain rooted to the bottom of the table despite their valiant efforts.