A stoppage-time winner from Lorenzo Pellegrini sealed a 4-3 Serie A win for AS Roma against Spezia on Saturday to lift the capital club into third place and earn revenge for their midweek cup defeat at the hands of the visitors.
Borja Mayoral’s opener was cancelled out by Roberto Piccoli, but three goals in six second-half minutes from Mayoral, Roma wing-back Rick Karsdorp and Spezia forward Diego Farias set up a frantic finale.
Substitute Daniele Verde thought he had earned a draw in the 90th minute when he pounced on a Chris Smalling error to score. But Pellegrini swept in a winner with seconds left on the clock to avenge Tuesday’s 4-2 Coppa Italia defeat.
Roma move above Napoli into third place on 37 points, although Gennaro Gattuso’s side are three points behind with two games in hand, while Spezia are 14th with 18 points.
The cup elimination led to turmoil at Roma, and the club’s bizarre error of making one too many substitutions saw the result later changed to a 3-0 defeat as punishment. There were reports of a dressing room row between coach Paulo Fonseca and senior players like captain Edin Dzeko.
The Portuguese was therefore under pressure to deliver a result on Saturday, although he had to do so without injured forwards Dzeko, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pedro Rodriguez.
Stand-in striker Mayoral made his mark, finding the net twice in the opening 53 minutes, either side of Roberto Piccoli’s tap-in, before Karsdorp’s tap-in appeared to put the result to bed.
But Spezia launched a remarkable fightback through a neat Farias finish and Verde’s late strike — only to be undone by Pellegrini in extra time.