AS Roma forward Pedro was sent off, a goal ruled out and coach Paulo Fonseca was also sacked in a five-minute spell before the break but still held on for a 0-0 draw at home to Sassuolo in a fierce Serie A last-six tie. Sunday.
The match played in pouring rain at the Stadio Olimpico took a dramatic twist in the 40th minute when Pedro, already yellow-carded, naively committed a tactical foul in midfield and was shown a second yellow card.
Before long, Roma thought they had taken the lead when Henrikh Mkhitaryan completed a counterattack. However, after a lengthy VAR review, the goal came amid Roma’s protests over a foul by Edin Dzeko.
Roma continued to protest with the ref after the halftime whistle and Fonseca was ordered out due to confusion.
Surprisingly, Roma looked the more dangerous in the second half as they sat back and tried to catch Sassuolo during the break.
Leonardo Spinazzola saw a shot blocked by veteran goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo, then Dzeko fired Spinazzola’s cross at the post and saw another effort go wide.
Sassuolo substitute Lukas Haraslin thought he had given Sassuolo the lead with a spectacular 25-meter strike but other VAR reviews have suggested he was slightly offside and a goal also ruled out.
Almost at once, Roma cut across the other end and Mkhitaryan’s shot went wide by a few centimeters. Sassuolo almost scored the winner in stoppage time, but Mehdi Bourabia’s header from a corner went wide.
Sassuolo, fourth in the standings with 19 points, remain one point ahead and a place ahead of Roma even though Napoli (17 points) travel to Crotone on Sunday night and could overtake both sides with a win.