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Roma 1-1 Atalanta: Spoils shared in the top four race

Paulo Dybala’s penalty equalized Teun Koopmeiners’ header as Roma and Atalanta shared the points, failing to gain ground on the top four.

In a clash crucial for European ambitions, both teams were also engaged in Coppa Italia action midweek, preparing for the quarter-finals, leading to stretched squads. Evan Ndicka, Houssem Aouar, and Ademola Lookman were on AFCON duty, while Renato Sanches, Chris Smalling, Tammy Abraham, and Marash Kumbulla were sidelined due to injuries. Additionally, Rafael Toloi, Hans Hateboer, and El Bilal Toure did not travel.

Marco Carnesecchi demonstrated early bravery by rushing off his line to thwart Romelu Lukaku in a one-on-one situation after a misplaced Aleksei Miranchuk back-pass.

Nevertheless, Atalanta seized the lead when Miranchuk delivered a precise ball to the back post, allowing Teun Koopmeiners to score with a header, anticipating the movement of Rick Karsdorp.

Carnesecchi had to remain vigilant with two crucial saves in quick succession, first denying Romelu Lukaku after being set up by Gianluca Mancini, and then deflecting a cross-shot from Paulo Dybala that came off Ederson.

Shortly after, Charles De Ketelaere posed a threat at the opposite end, with his powerful shot deflected over the bar by the bicep of Rui Patricio as he rushed out.

Dybala had a chance to tap in from close range but only managed to graze the pass from Lorenzo Pellegrini. Carnesecchi then rushed out to make a point-blank save, denying Edoardo Bove.

There was a moment of chaos when Carnesecchi struggled to deal with a Nicola Zalewski lob, leading to Karsdorp’s attempt being cleared off the line by Berat Djimsiti. However, VAR revealed that Matteo Ruggeri had caught Karsdorp on the leg with his studs, resulting in a penalty. Dybala converted the penalty, sending Carnesecchi the wrong way to level the score.

Roma vs Atalanta: A point doesn’t help any of the sides

Diego Llorente successfully blocked Emil Holm’s strike, and Jose Mourinho expressed frustration when no foul was awarded for a Sead Kolasinac nudge on Dybala at the edge of the box.

Dean Huijsen, who had just completed his loan move from Juventus the previous day, was thrust into his Roma debut in the second half due to a muscular issue for Diego Llorente.

The defender immediately threatened with a free-kick at the back post, the deflection off Emil Holm prompting a desperate reaction save from Carnesecchi.

Dybala attempted an acrobatic overhead kick that went wide, and Gianluca Scamacca nodded in a goal, although it was disallowed after he pushed Zalewski.

Ederson fired over the bar after seemingly overcoming two challenges on the edge of the area. Carnesecchi used his chest to block Dybala’s strike at the near post.

Kolasinac exited the game with a thigh problem, and Romelu Lukaku sent a shot over the bar from Leonardo Spinazzola’s cut-back. As both teams began to tire towards the end, Jose Mourinho received a second yellow card for dissent in stoppage time, leading to his suspension for the upcoming match against Milan.

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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