Roma, Milan trade late goals in battle for UCL

AS Roma and AC Milan shared the points in a 1-1 draw at Stadio Olimpico on Saturday after a stoppage-time goal by visiting winger Alexis Saelemaekers cancelled out a Tammy Abraham strike three minutes earlier as the Serie A top-four race intensifies.

Milan remain fourth in the standings, level on 57 points with Roma in fifth, with both sides two points behind third-placed Juventus who travel to Bologna on Sunday.

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Champions League semifinalists Milan, who sneaked back into the top four last weekend after two Rafael Leao goals earned a 2-0 home win over Lecce, have now failed to win in six out of their last eight league games.

Roma, who on Monday suffered a costly 3-1 loss at Atalanta, were without forward Paulo Dybala, who left the pitch in Bergamo with pain in his ankle.

Jose Mourinho’s depleted side were also missing injured defenders Diego Llorente and Chris Smalling plus midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, who are all expected to return in mid-May. The season had previously ended for right-back Rick Karsdorp.

Roma’s back luck, however, did not end there and Mourinho was forced to make an early change when defender Marash Kumbulla clashed inside the box with Milan forward Olivier Giroud.

Milan started cautiously in a game that was frequently interrupted by fouls bringing yellow cards but their attacks increased in number and speed as the first half wore on and Stefano Pioli’s men pushed Roma further into their own half.

They had a decent chance just after the half-hour mark but forward Leao fired wide.

However, Roma knew their best bet was to steer the play away from their fragile back line and responded two minutes later with a close-range Lorenzo Pellegrini shot that was unfortunately blocked by Abraham.

Milan defenders Davide Calabria and Fikayo Tomori had two more chances before half-time but both missed the target.

The action intensified after the break but, despite chances for both sides as Milan settled into dominating possession, it looked like the game was heading for a draw.

Abraham then put the hosts ahead in the third minute of stoppage time with a low shot into the left corner, sparking premature celebrations from the home fans, before Saelemaekers equalised from a Rafael Leao cross into the box.

The two goals were the only shots on target.

Leao has now been involved in 19 goals so far this season, scoring 12 with seven assists, and has equalled his overall tally from last term (11 goals, 8 assists).

Milan host second-bottom Cremonese on Wednesday when Roma travel to ninth-placed Monza.

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