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Serie A

  • February 22, 2015
  • • 9:00 AM
  • • Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
  • Referee: A. Gervasoni
  • • Attendance: 17953

Hellas Verona 1-1 Roma: Keita own goal piles more misery on Garcia

The Giallorossi are now nine points adrift of table-topper Juventus as Francesco Totti's opener was canceled out by an own goal from Seydou Keita.

Roma's inability to turn draws into victories continued as its Serie A title bid was dealt another blow in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Hellas Verona.

Francesco Totti, who had not scored since his match-saving double in the Rome derby more than a month ago, opened the scoring with a long-distance strike which skidded into the bottom corner.

Verona barely had a sniff of the ball in the first third of the match but was level 10 minutes before halftime when Giallorossi midfielder Seydou Keita deflected a headed corner into the back of his own net.

The second half started at blistering pace, with both sides pushing hard for a winner, but both tired as the 90 minutes wore on and real chances were extremely thin on the ground in the final 30 minutes.

Following Juventus' 2-1 win against Atalanta on Friday, Rudi Garcia's men are now nine points adrift in the Scudetto race while the host edges up a place in the Serie A table into 15th.

Roma's form has faltered in 2015 - it had won once in its last six matches heading into the visit to Verona - while Andrea Mandorlini's men had leaked 21 goals in their previous six games, only one of which they did not lose, meaning the pressure was on both sets of players to produce a result.

A terrific, left-footed strike from Radja Nainngolan with 10 minutes on the clock nearly gave the visitor a cracking start, however, with Francesco Benucci's fingertip save kept the scoreline at 0-0.

Three minutes later it was Adem Ljajic who tested the Verona shot stopper, as he drove a free kick from the flank, but Benucci reacted and smothered the ball on his goalline.

The Giallorossi kept up the pressure and on the 26-minute mark Benucci was finally beaten when Totti lashed his ninth goal of the season into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Verona's first effort on goal did not come until the 37th minute. Former Barnsley midfielder Emil Hallfredsson found some space on the edge of the box and brought the Bentegodi residents to their feet with a shot which cannoned just wide.

Rudi Garcia's men failed to heed the warning signal and, a little more than a minute later, Bosko Jankovic rose highest from Hallfredsson's corner and his header was deflected into the back of the net by Keita's knee.

Ljajic, who had been buzzing about Verona's box in dangerous fashion all half, finished the opening 45 minutes by thundering a Roma free kick on to the crossbar.

After the break, Juanito had a glorious chance to put the hosts into the lead just minutes into the second half, but slipped as he shot and fired just off target from 10 yards out.

A few minutes later it took a goalline clearance from Roma substitute Vasilis Torosidis to deny Hallfredsson from converting an excellent counter-attack, in the midst of very entertaining, end-to-end fair in Verona.

However, the pace of the game noticeably dropped late as Roma ran out of ideas and Mandorlini's men settled for a point against the second-placed side.