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Last-gasp Abraham saves Roma against 10-man Spezia


Milan (AFP) – Tammy Abraham earned Roma a dramatic 1-0 win at Spezia on Sunday with a penalty in the ninth minute of stoppage time to down opponents who had to play the entire second half with 10 men.

England international Abraham slotted home his 12th Serie A goal of the season from the spot to snatch the points for Jose Mourinho’s side after an action-packed match on the Italian Riviera which had looked to be heading for stalemate.

Roma move up to sixth on 44 points, six behind the Champions League places thanks to a penalty which was given after an on-field VAR review and had relegation-threatened Spezia fuming.

It was given for Giulio Maggiore kicking Nicolo Zaniolo in the head as the Roma forward struck the bar with a header in the second of two incredible stoppage-time goalmouth scrambles, as Spezia fought tooth and nail to hold off the away side after Kelvin Amian was sent off on the stroke of half-time.

“I still can’t find my words, I don’t know what happened today,” Abraham said to DAZN.

“The ball didn’t want to go inside. We tried, even me, I was on the line and I still couldn’t score. But the most important thing is we got the goal at the end and the three points.”

Roma had 31 shots and struck the woodwork four times at the Stadio Alberto Picco on what had looked to be another frustrating evening for Mourinho’s men.

However Spezia, who came out for their pre-match warm up in t-shirts with the message “stop war” written in the yellow and blue of the Ukrainian flag in support of their teammate Viktor Kovalenko, stay four points above the relegation zone after Abraham’s crushing winner.

– Cagliari resurgence continues –

A point behind Spezia are Cagliari, who continued their remarkable new year’s revival by winning 2-1 at Torino to climb out of the Serie A relegation zone.

Walter Mazzarri’s side came out on top in Turin thanks to strikes in each half from Raoul Bellanova and Alessandro Deiola, which cancelled out a second goal in as many games from Italy forward Andrea Belotti who had levelled the scores eight minutes after the break.

The Sardinian side looked doomed to the drop at the turn of the year after a run of 11 matches without a win left them second-from-bottom with just 10 points.

However they have picked up 15 points from their eight games since the winter break and now sit 17th, three points ahead of Venezia who lost 3-1 at Verona thanks to a Giovanni Simeone hat-trick.

Simeone’s first goals of 2022 took his league tally for the season to 15 and moved ninth-placed Verona to within three points of the European places.

David Okereke headed the away side back into the game with his team two down with nine minutes remaining but they were left to rue missing chances to take control of the game in the first half.

Napoli take on Champions League-chasing Lazio on Sunday night knowing a win will put them top on goal difference.

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