Football | Serie A

Lukaku loses perfect penalty record in Italy but scores late to help Roma beat Lecce

Roma 2, Lecce 1

Romelu Lukaku lost his perfect penalty record in Italy but made up for it with a last-minute winner as two stoppage-time goals saw Roma snatch a 2-1 win over Lecce in Serie A yesterday [Macau time].

Lukaku should have got Roma off to the perfect start but his spot kick was saved by Lecce goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone.

It was the first penalty Lukaku had failed to convert in Italy, having scored 14 times from the spot for Inter Milan.

The penalty had been awarded on video review after Federico Baschirotto was adjudged to have handled Paulo Dybala’s strike in the second minute.

Dybala, who was returning from a month out with injury, almost gave Roma the lead in the 31st minute but he saw a first attempt accidentally blocked by Lukaku and, as the move continued, he volleyed narrowly wide of the left post.

Lecce broke the deadlock in the 71st when Lameck Banda raced down the left and cut inside past Roma defender Gianluca Mancini. He managed to evade another tackle to get the ball to Pontus Almqvist, who swept it into the bottom left corner.

It appeared as if Lecce was heading to its first win in seven matches but substitute Sardar Azmoun headed in Nicola Zalewski’s cross in the first minute of stoppage time. It was the Iran forward’s first goal in Italy.

And the home crowd at the Stadio Olimpico went from despair to delight in less than three minutes as Lukaku then curled Dybala’s through ball into the top left corner.

Roma moved level on points with seventh-place Fiorentina.

Juventus cut the gap to Serie A leader Inter Milan back to two points with a 1-0 win at Fiorentina, which dominated the match for long periods. Inter won 2-1 at Atalanta on Saturday.

Fabio Miretti scored the only goal in the 10th minute, firing Filip Kostić’s cross into the near bottom corner. It was a first senior goal for the 20-year-old Miretti, who has been at Juventus since he was 8 years old.

Juventus has not conceded a goal for six straight matches.

A section of hardcore Fiorentina fans boycotted the match in protest as they felt it shouldn’t have gone ahead at a time when the Tuscany region is struggling after devastating floods in the wake of Storm Ciarán.

They left their seats empty at one end of the stadium and were instead working to help clear the mud and standing water from homes and businesses.

There was a minute’s silence before all Serie A matches this weekend in memory of the victims. In Florence, the two teams — normally fierce rivals — mixed together during that moment to show their solidarity. DANIELLA MATAR, Milan, MDT/AP

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