Soccer-Roma salvage draw against Fiorentina despite double red card setback

(Reuters) -AS Roma secured a 1-1 draw at home against Fiorentina in Serie A on Sunday despite playing much of the second half with a reduced squad after first Nicola Zalewski and then Romelu Lukaku were sent off.

Lukaku had opened the scoring after five minutes with a precise diving header from close range, courtesy of Paulo Dybala's perfectly placed cross.

In the 64th minute, midfielder Zalewski received his second yellow card and was sent off, only for Fiorentina to equalise two minutes later when Lucas Martinez Quarta headed in a cross.

Three minutes before time, Lukaku flew into a sliding tackle on Fiorentina's Christian Kouame and was shown a direct red card.

Roma are in fourth place with 25 points, trailing AC Milan in third by four points and the league leaders, Inter Milan, by 13. Fiorentina are in seventh place with 24 points.

Fiorentina came close to an equaliser in the first half when M'Bala Nzola was played free inside the box, but Roma keeper Rui Patricio, rushed out from the line and parried the attempt.

There was a worrying incident for Roma manager Jose Mourinho midway through the first half when Dybala, who has grappled with injuries this season, appeared to twist his knee in a tackle, leading to him being substituted.

Just before Zalewski's dismissal, Fiorentina's Giacomo Bonaventura sent a spinning shot that ricocheted off the crossbar.

Despite facing constant pressure from Fiorentina, Roma held firm, with some strong defending and Rui Patricio making some excellent saves.

"They were only down to nine for a few minutes. Our whole second half was extraordinary, we tried in every way to get it back on track after taking the wrong initial approach, which Roma made the most of," Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Italiano told DAZN.

Mourinho and the Roma players declined to speak to the media after the match.

Earlier on Sunday, Bologna won 2-1 at Salernitana, thanks to an early brace from Joshua Zirkzee, propelling them to fifth place with 25 points, level with Roma.

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; editing by Clare Fallon)

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