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Europa League: Top two in Group J draw 1-1

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Wolfsberger 1 – 1 Roma in Europa League Group J.

This was a clash of the unbeaten top two of Europ League Group J.

Both Wolfsberger and Roma won their opening group games two weeks ago 4-0.

This was a showdown between the hotshots.

While Roma manager Paulo Fonseca claimed he would not underestimate his opponent, he did make several changes, both forced and unforced.

Edin Dzeko, Aleksandar Kolarov and Pau Lopez were rested.

Lorenzo Pellegrini, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alessandro Florenzi, Cengiz Under and Diego Perotti were all injured.

Roma’s Davide Santon almost cost his side dearly with just 20 seconds on the clock.

He played a  weak back-pass forcing Antonio Mirante to rush a clearance as Wolfsberger’s Anderson Niangbo charged in towards him.

Roma had an early chance of their own, with Nicolò Zaniolo playing the ball across the six-yard box.

It was just out of Kalinic’s reach. The ball was heading towards an advancing Justin Kluivert, before a last gasp Wolfsberger clearance.

In the 22nd minute, Roma’s Mirante made a fine double save.

Firstly from Marcel Ritzmaier’s deflected header, then fingertipped the follow-up cross off the head of Niangbo.

With both sides creating opportunities and threatening, it was Roma who broke the deadlock.

A 27th-minute corner, saw the ball fly around the goalmouth like a pinball.

The corner came in, Leonardo Spinazzola heads the ball, it takes a deflection off Ritzmaier, only to bounce back at Spinazzola, who knew little about the rebound off him and into the net.

27 minutes on the clock, Wolfsberger 0 – 1 Roma.

Kalinic and Javier Pastore had other chances for the Italian side, but both managed nothing more than to shoot high above the goal.

Halftime: Wolfsberger 0 -1 Roma.

The second half saw Roma contiue to test the home sides keeper Kofler.

This time he pulled off a strong one-handed save from a driven shot along the ground from Zaniolo.

It wasn’t all oneway traffic though. The Austrians number nine Weissman hit a curling shot, goal-bound, but Mirante was up to the task and saved well.

The home side was finally rewarded for their efforts and resilience, in the 51st minute.

Liendl went on a majestic solo run after Spinazzola gave the ball away cheaply.

Then when Lendl was ready, he let rip with a swerving shot from well outside the box.

He hit the ball with the outside of the left boot, and the ball seemed almost remote controlled as it approached Mirante’s grasp.

As he reached toward it, it made another change of direction, and find the back of the net up high into corner.

51st minute, Wolfsberger 1 – 1 Roma.

There were still chances for both sides to take all three points.

The best of which fell to Pastore who wasted a promising half volley opportunity, while Kluivert and Zaniolo failed to hit the target with their powerful shots.

Fulltime: Wolfsberger 1  – 1 Roma

The draw leave both sides tied for first place, with five points apiece, and equal goal difference.

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