SCOTT PETERSON - Monday, January 23, 2012
Michael Bradley went the distance for Chievo Verona, who blew a two-goal lead and conceded a late goal against lowly Lecce in Sunday Serie A action.
Bradley made his 16th start in a row for Mimmo di Carlo in the Chievo midfield on Sunday, as the skipper fielded the same eleven that was victorious a week ago against Palermo.
The game could not have started better for the guests from Verona. Alberto Paloschi caught Lecce napping in the 2nd minute, getting behind the backline and beating keeper Massamiliano Benassi for the early 1-0 lead.
Everything seemed to be pointing to an away victory for Chievo when they doubled their lead in the 24th minute. Sergio Pellisier intercepted a sloppy pass by Lecce's Andrea Esposito and then played Paloschio into the box. The Italian then showed some panache by cooling lobbing the ball over Esposito to extend the advantage to two goals.
Chievo came into the match known for its defensive hustle and teamwork, and not for its goal production, which made it even more surprising that mistakes caused the turn of events.
Otherwise solid and reliable between the sticks, Chievo keeper Paolo Sorrentino came off his line in a futile attempt to punch away the service off a corner, but whiffed completely and the ball fell right to Lecce's Esposito, who atoned for his earlier mistake by heading home the corner to cut the lead to one in the 30th minute.
In the game's waning moments, the home team sent its fans into a state of rapture as David di Michele used some shoddy marking and found a pocket of space to latch onto Christian Pasquato's cross and volley home the equalizer off the crossbar.
The match was not restarted and Chievo's point earned felt more like two lost.
Next week Bradley and Chievo host Lazio.