MILAN (AP) — Romelu Lukaku lost his perfect penalty record in Italy but atoned for his error with a last-minute winner as two stoppage-time goals saw Roma snatch a 2-1 win over Lecce in Serie A on Sunday.
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, which played second-place Juventus later.
Claudio Ranieri’s halftime substitutes made a difference as Cagliari beat Genoa 2-1 for a second successive victory.
Ranieri, known as “The Tinkerman” from his time in the Premier League, brought on Nicolas Viola and Gabriele Zappa at the interval. Viola scored three minutes after the break while Zappa netted in the 69th minute for his first Serie A goal in 70 appearances.
Albert Gudmundsson had leveled for Genoa in the 51st.
Cagliari, which had recorded its first win of the season last weekend by fighting back from three goals down to beat Frosinone 4-3, moved a point above the relegation zone.
Hellas Verona replaced it in the bottom three after losing 3-1 to Monza.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer
Daniella Matar, The Associated Press