SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, December 2, 2013
Bradley starts; Roma gets into gear late vs Bergamo
Atalanta Bergamo 1 - 1 AS Roma
Michael Bradley returned to the starting lineup for Roma, who notched their fourth successive tie in the Serie A thanks to a last-gasp Kevin Strootman goal versus Bergamo.
Bradley replaced Miralem Pjanic in the starting lineup after impressing head coach Rudi Garcia in practice, a fact the Roma boss stressed in the postgame press conference; it was Bradley's third start on the season.
Roma were sluggish throughout the first hour with a smattering of half chances, but nothing in the way of the free-flowing, attacking soccer that has thrust them into the midst of a Scudetto scrap.
While the Giallorossi were idling about the park, Bergamo were defending resolutely and proving to be a plucky test. Just six minutes after the restart, they struck.
Defender Davide Brivio hit his free kick from 26 yards out well enough and it took a tricky hop in front of keeper Morgan De Sanctis, sneaking through the netminder's five hole.
After conceding, the Romans started coming.
Bradley, Strootman and substitute Adem Ljajic all had excellent chances to score, but all went begging. Roma was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty in the 76th minute as Maicon's chipped pass for Bradley appeared to be handled in the box by Michele Canini.
The heroics for Roma were saved for the dying minutes.
Ljajic made a determined, driving run to the Bergamo touchline, before cutting his pass back to the spot for an onrushing Strootman. The burly Dutchman made no mistake and stuffed home the Serbian's service for the equalizer in the 90th minute.
Although Roma remained unbeaten on the year, leaders Juventus were able to extend their lead to three after beating Udinese on a last-gasp winner.
Bradley and Roma will look to get back in the win column on Sunday when they host Fiorentina in the Matchday 15 marquee matchup.