(Reuters) – AS Roma’s Antonio Mirante saved a stoppage-time penalty to earn a point in a 1-1 draw at Genoa in Serie A although Sunday’s result still damaged the capital club’s Champions League qualifying hopes.
Roma’s Stephan El Shaarawy had put the visitors ahead in the 82nd minute before Genoa defender Cristian Romero headed home from a corner eight minutes later to level the scores.
The hosts then had a glorious chance to complete a remarkable turnaround when Mirante brought down Antonio Sanabria to concede a penalty deep into added time, but the Roma keeper made up for his error by saving the Paraguayan’s spot kick.
“Genoa did well not to give up. We knew it was going to be difficult but we let ourselves get surprised on the corner, otherwise we would have taken the win home,” Roma coach Claudio Ranieri told Sky Sport Italia.
“This was I think Romero’s fourth goal of the season from set pieces. (Patrik) Schick was marking him but he managed to get away and head in at the last second.
“It’s a pity, because the three points would have been very useful, but we’ll keep going.”
Roma are fifth in the standings and needed a win to stay within touching distance of fourth-placed Atalanta, who beat Lazio 3-1 earlier on Sunday.
The draw leaves Ranieri’s team three points behind the Bergamo club on 59, while it could prove to be a valuable point for 16th-placed Genoa, who lie four points above the relegation zone with three rounds of matches remaining.
“We were able to get a problematic situation back on track and now we’re right up there,” Ranieri added, “so whoever picks up the most points in these final rounds will take the Champions League spot.”
Genoa keeper Ionut Radu denied Roma an opener midway through the first half when he flew across his goal to claw Federico Fazio’s header back off the line.
Romero then failed to direct an angled effort on target at the back post before Nicolo Zaniolo had a powerful strike tipped over by Radu after the break.
The game came to life in the closing stages when El Shaarawy met Edin Dzeko’s flick-on to volley the opening goal into the bottom corner against his former club.
Roma’s top scorer appeared to have secured a valuable win but Cesare Prandelli’s side kept coming and were rewarded when Romero rose to nod in from a corner in the 90th minute.
Substitute Sanabria then won a penalty when he was brought down by Mirante in the fifth minute of added time, only for the striker to see his tame effort saved in a dramatic finale.
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Ken Ferris)