Cristante stunner earns Roma draw with 10-man Atalanta

Soccer Football - Serie A - AS Roma v Atalanta - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - April 22, 2021 Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini reacts REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

ROME (Reuters) - Atalanta missed the chance to go second in Serie A on Thursday as AS Roma fought back to earn a 1-1 draw against the 10-man visitors at the Stadio Olimpico.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side went in front through Ruslan Malinovskyi in the first half and threatened a second as Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez produced several good saves and Luis Muriel fired wide with the goal gaping.

The match swung in the hosts’ favour when Robin Gosens was shown a second yellow card with 20 minutes remaining, and former Atalanta player Bryan Cristante drew Roma level with a thunderous long-range strike in the 75th minute.

Roma were frustrated in their efforts to find a late winner and had Roger Ibanez sent off moments before the final whistle, after the defender picked up two bookings in two minutes.

Atalanta are third in the standings on 65 points, one behind AC Milan in second. Roma remained seventh with 55 points.

"We can't forget that Atalanta had won nine of their last 10 games," Roma coach Paulo Fonseca told DAZN.

"It's not easy playing against them, we improved in the second half but the team showed character."

AC Milan’s defeat by Sassuolo on Wednesday handed Atalanta the chance to move into the runners-up spot with a victory, and they looked set to achieve their goal during a dominant first half.

Duvan Zapata and Josip Ilicic efforts produced sharp stops from Lopez, and Malinovskyi broke through after 26 minutes when he fired home from seven yards.

Remo Freuler drew another good save from Lopez from close range, and after the break Atalanta’s pressure continued as Cristian Romero curled wide and substitute Luis Muriel was unmarked in front of goal but shot off target.

Roma were offered a lifeline when Gosens picked up a second yellow for a clumsy challenge and they were level five minutes later thanks to Cristante’s effort.

Edin Dzeko went close twice and Pierluigi Gollini stopped a late Carles Perez effort as the hosts pushed for the win, but the night ended in disappointment as Ibanez was sent off.

Roma's hopes of achieving the top-four finish that would earn them Champions League qualification now look to be over, as they are 10 points behind fourth-placed Juventus with six games left.

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Ed Osmond)

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