Romelu Lukaku went from zero to hero as Roma fought back late to beat a spirited Lecce side 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico. The hosts bagged an unanswered brace in added time to turn the game on its head and recover from last weekend’s narrow 1-0 defeat at Inter.
Jose Mourinho couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the game as referee Andrea Colombo pointed to the spot three minutes from the first whistle. However, Lukaku, who converted all 14 penalties during his career at Inter, failed to score his first for Roma. Wladimiro Falcone pulled off a magnificent save to thwart the Belgian striker.
Lecce almost made Roma pay for Lukaku’s miss. Pontus Almqvist put the visitors in front in the 72nd minute. But Sardar Azmoun restored parity a minute into stoppages with his first goal in Serie A before Lukaku completed the turnaround with a clinical finish inside the box.
It took Roma a great deal of pain and suffering, but they got a seventh straight home league win over Lecce over the line. And Lukaku was at the thick of it.
“It is his first miss in Italy, but his second with me, as I remember the European Supercup with Chelsea. Still, only whoever takes a penalty can risk missing it,” Mourinho stood up for his Roma protege in the aftermath, as quoted by TMW.
“I know him better than anyone, Lukaku is a very, very emotionally sensitive man and when he misses an early penalty, it hurts his heart for the rest of the game. This is why scoring the last-minute winner could not be better, as it will help Romelu sleep better tonight and wake up with a smile.”
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