Roma coach Aurelio Andreazzoli made five changes along with a change of system to 3-4-1-2 from the weekend's defeat of Fiorentina, with Marquinhos, Miralem Pjanic, Ivan Piris, Dodo and Mattia Destro coming in in place of Vassilis Torosidis, Federico Balzaretti, Michael Bradley, Alessandro Florenzi and Erik Lamela. After their dull draw with Cagliari at the weekend, Eugenio Corini made three changes to his Chievo side, Paul Papp, Luciano and Adrian Stoian coming in for Bostjan Cesar, Luca Rigoni and Alberto Paloschi, who suffered a dislocated shoulder at the weekend.
To say there is a contrast in these two sides is an understatement. Chievo have scored less goals than any Serie A side outside the relegation zone whilst Roma are the league's top scorers however this is tempered by the fact they have conceded more than anyone aside from Pescara. The template during the first half was typical of their relative styles, with Chievo taking their usual tactic of sitting back with their five-man defence and closing up any space in which the Roma forwards may operate.
The upshot of this was that Roma were unable to create much in the way of meaningful chances in the first half, Francesco Totti found Mattia Destro in behind the Chievo defence but his touch let him down and the ball bounced harmlessly out of play. Adrian Stoian was lively up front for Chievo as they looked to cause Roma problems on the break but was unable to fashion any real chances, and the best opportunity of the opening half fell to Pablo Osvaldo, the striker shooting straight at Christian Puggioni after a byeline cut-back from Ivan Piris. Francesco Totti's powerful free kick was parried away from danger by Puggioni right on the stroke of half time.
Chievo actually managed to create the first opportunity of the second half, Peparim Hetemaj's wonderful pass with the outside of his boot put Cyril Thereau beyond the Roma defence but the Frenchman was just unable to reach it.
Roma soon got up to speed in the second period and Mattia Destro, poor in the first half, stepped past two defenders to make some space in the box but his shot was straight down Puggioni's throat and the goalkeeper easily saved. This was the first of a flurry of Roma chances, Francesco Totti's effort was deflected on to the bar by a Chievo defender and Nicolas Burdisso's header from the resulting corner forced a smart save from the increasingly busy Puggioni.
Roma continued to press and Dodo, looking lively down the Roma left, surged forward with a brilliant run, exchanged passes with Destro to leave him in the area but Marco Andreolli managed to recover to make a well-timed block to deny the Brazilian.
It wasn't looking like Roma's day as Alessandro Florenzi shinned Leandro Castan's cross over at the back post and their lack of a cutting edge was to be punished in the cruellest possible fashion. Isaac Cofie broke forward following a Roma attack in the final minute of normal time and found Boukary Drame on the right wing. His cross found Cyril Thereau beyond the sprawling Castan, who calmly sidefooted past Bogdan Lobont in the Roma goal to steal the points for Chievo in a typically smash-and-grab display from the Flying Donkeys. They are now 100% safe in Serie A, sitting 11 points above Palermo with only three matches to play whilst Roma could be overtaken by Udinese when they play tomorrow.
AS Roma: Lobont; Marquinhos, Burdisso, Leandro Castan; Piris (Florenzi 55), De Rossi, Pjanic (Lamela 72), Dodo; Totti; Destro (Bradley 78), Osvaldo
Chievo Verona: Puggioni; Frey (Sardo 68), Andreolli, Dainelli, Papp, Drame; Cofie, Luciano (Seymour 72), Hetemaj; Thereau, Stoian (Vacek 82)
Goals: Thereau 90 (C)