Home Serie A Lukaku goes from villain to hero to save AS Roma.

Lukaku goes from villain to hero to save AS Roma.

by Gabriele Marcotti
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Despite missing a penalty, Romelu Lukaku made amends with a late deciding goal in injury time, helping AS Roma to a 2-1 victory over Lecce in the 11th round of Serie A.

Lukaku’s perfect 100% penalty record in Italy was broken in the fifth minute of the match against Lecce when the Belgian forward couldn’t beat goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone. Lukaku missed several opportunities, leaving AS Roma trailing by one goal until the 90th minute. However, in the additional five minutes of injury time, Sardar Azmoun equalized, and Lukaku himself sealed a thrilling 2-1 comeback victory for Jose Mourinho’s team.

Alongside Lukaku, Paulo Dybala was a standout player for AS Roma in the match at the Olimpico. Returning after a month of injury, the Argentine forward left an early mark by hitting a shot that deflected off Federico Baschirotto’s hand in the second minute, resulting in a penalty kick. However, after successfully converting 14 penalties with Inter, Lukaku missed a golden opportunity for AS Roma.

Lecce started the season well in Serie A but had drawn and lost in their last seven matches across all competitions. The away team seemed to be on the defensive, allowing Roma to take ten shots in the first half. The most impressive moment came from Dybala when he gracefully controlled a high bounce to his liking and volleyed just wide of the post.

Roma paid the price for squandering numerous chances, including Lukaku’s one-touch attempt in the penalty area early in the second half. In the 71st minute, Lameck Banda displayed his speed, setting up Pontus Almqvist to score and open the scoring for Lecce.

The home team applied significant pressure in the closing stages of the match, but their hopes seemed to diminish when Dybala’s left-footed curling shot hit the post. Just when it appeared that the opportunity had slipped away, an unexpected goal arrived for Roma. Nicola Zalewski’s early cross found Azmoun perfectly placed at the far post in the first minute of injury time. The Iranian striker scored his first goal in Serie A with a powerful header into the top corner.

The Roma players and fans celebrated after the equalizer, but they quickly refocused on searching for the winning goal. The reward came three minutes later when Lukaku outmuscled a Lecce defender after Dybala’s pass and calmly finished to secure the 2-1 victory.

Lukaku removed his shirt to celebrate the decisive goal in the 2-1 victory.

From being the villain to becoming the hero, Lukaku couldn’t contain his emotions, removing his shirt and running to the stands to celebrate with the fans. His ninth goal of the season across all competitions propelled Roma to seventh place with 17 points, trailing the top four by only four points. Lecce dropped to 11th place with four losses and two draws in their last six rounds.

Just below Roma with 17 points is Fiorentina, who lost to Juventus 0-1 in this round. Fiorentina had 25 shot attempts but failed to score, while Juventus had only four shot attempts but scored the lone goal thanks to the 20-year-old midfielder Fabio Miretti in the 11th minute. Max Allegri’s team solidified their second-place position, remaining two points behind the league leaders, Inter.

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