Rome, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of late goals from Adem Ljajic was required as 10-man Roma salvaged a 2-2 home draw with Sassuolo on Saturday, squandering a chance to make up ground on leaders Juventus.
The capital club entered Saturday's contest four points back of Juve after the defending champions were held to a 0-0 draw by Fiorentina on Friday.
That result meant that Roma had the chance to close to within one point of the leaders with a win over mid-table Sassuolo, which jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 20 minutes with two goals from Simone Zaza.
Things got worse for Roma early in the second half when Daniele De Rossi was sent off. However, Ljajic came to the rescue as he converted a penalty kick in the 78th minute before netting the equalizer in the closing moments.
Roma goalkeeper Morgan de Sanctis had to take the blame for Zaza's opening goal in the 15th minute when he was far too relaxed in taking a backpass from Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa that allowed Zaza to coast in and take the ball before firing it into the empty net.
Zaza doubled the lead three minutes later as he got in behind the Roma defense and was able to latch on to a long ball from Simone Missiroli before rounding De Sanctis and slotting his shot home.
The hosts began to create chances as the first half wore on, but De Rossi's foul on Domenico Berardi in the 51st minute earned him a second yellow card and seemed to dash any comeback hopes for Roma.
Sassuolo defender Sime Vrsaljko handled the ball inside his own penalty area 12 minutes from time on a shot from Gervinho, and Ljajic held his nerve to cut the deficit in half.
And just when it seemed as though Sassuolo would hold on for three big points, Alessandro Florenzi was played in behind the back line by a nice ball from Gervinho, allowing him to feed Ljajic for an easy finish and a dramatic point.
In Saturday's other match, Torino and Palermo battled to a 2-2 draw as Torino's Kamil Glik netted the equalizing goal in the 64th minute.