Missed chance by Gerson part of rough day for Roma against Chievo
Roma saw their title hopes dented by wasteful finishing and a wonderful performance by Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino, who was on hand to push away anything that the Giallorossi managed to put on target.
Roma had more than two-thirds of possession and 26 shots -- more than any other team this season -- and while veteran Sorrentino was on top form to deny Roma, it was the away side's profligacy that stopped them from returning south with all three points.
If Patrik Schick was unlucky to see his first half backheel flick well saved by the keeper, Gerson should have buried the follow up but allowed Sorrentino to recover in time to make a sensational double stop, and when Edin Dzeko is flapping his legs at presentable opportunities, you know that it's not going to be your day in front of goal.
Roma missed a chance to put serious pressure on Inter at the top of Serie A, and although they're still only five points back with a game in hand that extra game is at Sampdoria, who are very strong at home. Given the way they've drawn their past two matches at Genoa and now Chievo, there's no guarantee of three points from Samp.
Roma controlled the match from the start and had the home side pinned back in their own half for most of the match, despite having made a raft of changes from the team that beat Qarabag in their Champions League group midweek. Aleksandar Kolarov was as reliable as ever down the left and the midfield basically imposed their will on Chievo despite Maxime Gonalon's below-par display. On another day at least one of those chances goes in and we're talking about a deserved win.
If you miss chances like Roma did, you don't win football matches. The first half display was sluggish and predictable, despite all that possession, and there just seemed to be a lack of that intangible quality that separates the great from the good.
6 -- It's not Eusebio Di Francesco's fault that Roma didn't take the chances that came their way, nor that certain players put in sub-standard performances. The substitutions he improved Roma's performance and he can count himself unlucky that his team didn't score at least once. One slight criticism might be that he could have waited for a home game to fully blood Schick into the first team.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 -- Solid, dependable. His usual reliable self given the little he had to do.
DF Bruno Peres, 6 -- All in all an improvement on recent disaster shows. Got up and down the flank well and put in some decent crosses to boot.
DF Federico Fazio, 7 -- Nothing to complain about defensively. Only some slightly dodgy play with the ball lowers his mark.
DF Juan Jesus, 6 -- Another sound showing from the Brazilian, and with a clearer head he could have even scored the winner. Instead he flapped at a chance from a corner.
DF Aleksandar Kolarov, 7 -- Unlucky with a few of his trademark shots, and commanded the left flank.
MF Radja Nainggolan, 5 -- An off day fro the Belgian, although had Dzeko been more alert he could have had an assist.
MF Maxime Gonalons, 5 -- Gave the ball away far too often. Maybe the Frenchman is suffering from not playing consistently.
MF Kevin Strootman, 6 -- The best of the midfield three, and the most likely to conjure something when the creative fog descends elsewhere.
FW Gerson, 5 -- Missed a glorious chance to open the scoring and lacked the cut and thrust that he had at, say, Fiorentina.
FW Patrik Schick, 6 -- Only an in-form Sorrentino stopped him from opening his Roma account. Not at his best but getting there.
FW Stephan El Shaarawy, 5 -- Has entered one of his regular dips in form. His brace against Chelsea seems like a very long time ago.
FW Edin Dzeko, 5 -- Brought on to resolve attacking issues but only added to them.
FW Diego Perotti, N/R -- Couldn't find the breakthrough.
FW Cengiz Under, N/R -- An uninspiring 10 minutes.
Terry is based in Rome and is ESPN FC's AS Roma blogger. Twitter: @T_Daley