Zeman's Roma held
Last Updated: 26/08/12 10:40pm
Nico Lopez is congratulated on his late equaliser
Both the highs and lows of the Zdenek Zeman experience returned to Serie A as Roma scrambled a 2-2 draw against Catania in a match where defending was not on the agenda.
The Czech coach, famous for his preference for out-and-out attacking football, returned to the Stadio Olimpico this summer after 15 years to revive the Giallorossi's fortunes.
But his counterpart Rolando Maran was equally keen to make an impact on his debut and twice saw his Elefanti take the lead in the capital.
The Sicilians regularly exposed Roma's high line, Giovanni Marchese and Alejandro Gomez notching, but twice the Giallorossi responded in true swashbuckling style.
Pablo Osvaldo treated the home fans to an acrobatic overhead kick following good work from Daniele De Rossi, before Nico Lopez coolly beat his man to rescue a point at the death
Sergio Almiron's free-kick stripped paint off a post as Catania saught to catch their hosts off guard in the early exchanges.
Pablo Barrientos then saw his impromptu volley blocked by Leandro Castan's face, the Brazilian a little shaken after bravely keeping his side in the game.
But the Elefanti did get the breakthrough their early pluck deserved in the 28th minute.
Almiron knocked a quick free-kick against the blocking Osvaldo, Marchese gleefully tapping home the wild rebound.
A chorus of boos supported Zeman's calls for offside but the referee ruled Osvaldo had provided the decisive touch.
The Czech tactician urged his troops forward and, in the confusion, Osvaldo stumbled over Erik Lamela's snapshot to deny the Lupi a quick equaliser.
And Roma almost paid dearly for spurning the clear-cut opportunity as it fell to Maarten Stekelenburg to deny Gomez in a tricky one-on-one.
Zeman must have sternly reminded players of their attacking obligations at the interval as Roma flew out of the blocks after the break.
Osvaldo was first thwarted as a snapshot rattled the crossbar but on the hour mark he rifled the hosts back into contention.
De Rossi lofted a superb ball over the Rossazzurri defence, Osvaldo twisting to convert with a crowd-pleasing scorpion kick.
But after such a dizzying spell, Zeman's smile disappeared as Gomez capitalised on a defensive mix-up to nudge Catania back into the lead.
Again, there were calls for offside from the Giallorossi as Francesco Lodi seized on a forward ball to tee up an easy finish for his team-mate.
When talismanic striker Francesco Totti was withdrawn for Lopez, much of the capicity crowd was left wondering what Zeman's next move was.
The answer came one minute into stoppage time as the teenage Uruguyan flicked the ball over a defender before smashing it past Mariano Andujar.
Italian Serie A