Andrea Belotti‘s long wait for a Serie A goal continued, as he failed to open his league account for AS Roma in their 2-1 defeat to bottom club Cremonese on Tuesday. The summer signing from Torino was handed a rare start but his goal drought now stretches to almost 10 months and his future in the capital seems to be increasingly uncertain.
Trailing early on to a sensational Frank Tsadjout strike, the Lupi looked blunt in attack until they finally clawed level through a coolly taken Leonardo Spinazzola goal in the second half.
Yet, it did not last, with Rui Patricio conceding a late penalty and allowing Daniel Ciofani to fire Cremonese to their first league win of the season from the spot. For Roma, the pressure is growing as they slip out of the top four and face a difficult battle to qualify for the Champions League.
Belotti fails to take his chance
Belotti went into the match enduring his longest goalless streak in Serie A in his career, having failed to net in 22 league games and 701 minutes of play. Indeed, the Italian international’s last goals in the top flight came for former club Torino, in a hattrick against Empoli last May.
The striker was a much lauded addition to the Giallorossi’s squad when signing as a free agent; a shrewd back-up to Tammy Abraham with a wealth of Serie A experience and 106 league goals to his name.
Belotti found himself isolated in attack and rarely had a sight of goal, whilst he was often forced to drop deep to collect the ball, as Roma struggled to get their striker into the game.
The 29-year-old was symbolic of Roma’s overall lack of attacking threat, with Jose Mourinho’s side slow to move the ball and unable to carve out any chances of note. Indeed, it was often left to the likes of Gianluca Mancini and Bryan Cristante to punt the ball forward in the hope of a misstep in the Cremonese backline.
An hour on the pitch failed to yield a real chance for the ex-Torino captain, and he was replaced by Abraham midway through the second period.
Champions League opportunity fumbled
With Inter falling to a shock loss to Bologna on Sunday, and Atalanta slipping to defeat against AC Milan later that day, a match against bottom club Cremonese looked to be a more than presentable opportunity for Roma to strengthen their grip in the top four.
The hosts were yet to win a league game all season, despite their wonderful run to the Coppa Italia semi-finals and the elimination of the Lupi en route, and Roma would surely have no better match to prepare for a crunch clash against Juventus at the weekend.
The Giallorossi are desperate to return to European football’s top table after an absence from the Champions League of three years, but with the race to be best of the rest behind leaders Napoli heating up, they simply cannot afford such slip ups against Serie A’s whipping boys.