Atalanta vs. Roma, final score 1-1: Strootman rescues fourth successive draw for Roma

Marco Luzzani

A last-gasp strike from Kevin Strootman secured a fourth successive draw for Roma and puts them back to the top of the table on goal difference, at least until Juventus play later on Sunday.

After going down 2-0 to Sassuolo, Atalanta boss Stefano Colantuono made four changes to his side, bringing in Lionel Scaloni, Riccardo Cazzola, Cristiano Del Grosso and Franco Brienza for Gianpaolo Bellini, Guglielmo Stendardo, Giulio Miglaccio and Marko Livaja. Despite a string of three draws coming after a remarkable run of ten wins, Rudi Garcia elected to make just two changes to the side that endured a goalless draw with Cagliari last week, Marquinho coming in for Adem Ljajić and Michael Bradley playing in place of Miralem Pjanić.

Neither side began the match with any great attacking intent but unsurprisingly it was Roma who were able to use the ball more effectively, whilst the hosts were content to sit back and use the pace of Maxi Moralez and the size and physicality of German Denis on the break.

The first opportunity fell to the visitors, Marquinho getting a low effort away from 20 yards which Andrea Consigli had to be alert to palm around the post.

Clear opportunities were proving hard to come by at either end, Gervinho passing up a brilliant opportunity to put Roma ahead when he ghosted in behind the Atalanta defence to meet Daniele De Rossi's perfect ball forward however his touch let him down and the ball bobbled harmlessly out of play.

Atalanta eventually managed to carve out the best opportunity of the first half, Franco Brienza hitting the post from 12 yards after a free-kick was deflected into his path.

Six minutes after the break and the hosts were ahead, much against the run of play. Davide Brivio hit a low free kick from 25 yards that Morgan De Sanctis really should've got to quite easily however the ball bobbled over the hapless goalkeeper to put the Nerazzurri in front.

From then on, the Atalanta gameplan was just to cling on to the lead but for all their possession and attacking intent, clear chances were hard to come by for Roma. Leandro Castan finally had the ball in the net after a penalty box scramble however the goal was ruled out due to substitute Adem Ljajić standing in an offside position.

Alessandro Florenzi had a golden oppotunity to draw Roma level with four minutes remaining, however his free header from six yards was well saved by Consigli, however in the final minute, Roma were able to grab a point from the jaws of defeat. Ljajić made it to the bye-line on the right hand side and put a low cross into the box for Kevin Strootman to easily finish from eight yards and give Roma a fourth successive draw to just about keep pace with the leaders, however Juventus and Napoli are both still to play this weekend and they could drop three points behind the Bianconeri should they defeat Udinese in the late Sunday kick-off.

Atalanta: Consigli; Scaloni (Lucchini 74), Cazzola, Canini, Del Grosso (Bonaventura 30); Brienza (Koné 65), Cigarini, Carmona, Brivio; Moralez; Denis

Goals: Brivio 51

Roma: De Sanctis; Maicon, Leandro Castan, Benatia, Dodô; De Rossi (Ljajić 57), Bradley, Strootman; Gervinho; Florenzi (Ricci 87), Marquinho (Pjanić 62)

Goals: Strootman 90

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