Torino deny Roma victory
Last Updated: 03/11/13 10:02pm
Alessio Cerci celebrates his goal for Torino
Roma's seemingly unstoppable surge towards matching a 53-year-old European record finally came to an end at Torino as their former player Alessio Cerci forced a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico.
Had the runaway Serie A leaders clinched an 11th straight win they would have lived up to Tottenham's achievement of the 1960/61 season, in which Spurs opened a double-winning campaign with the same run of victories before drawing with Manchester City.
Kevin Strootman set the Giallorossi on their way to emulating the Londoners' record but Rudi Garcia's men appeared a little off the boil in Turin and soon found themselves under siege from a determined Torino side.
And it was Cerci, who made his Roma debut at the age of 16 over nine years ago, who would prove their undoing shortly after the hour mark, putting the brakes on his boyhood club's bid to make the history books with a well-taken equaliser.
Roma held a five-point lead going into this weekend's round of games, but that has been cut to just three while the solitary point moves Torino into 11th place.
Defender Mehdi Benatia has been a key component in the record-breaking Roma side and coolly cut out Paulo Barreto's ball through to Riccardo Meggiorini in the third minute.
He could not stop Omar El Kaddouri firing just over the Roma goal midway through the first half, though.
Roma finally emerged from their own half in the 25th minute as Alessandro Florenzi volleyed Miralem Pjanic's corner over the bar, and that rush of adrenaline spurred them on to greater things.
It was the team's left-back, Federico Balzaretti, who orchestrated the move that led to the opening goal.
He cut inside to the D and, once he had convinced Cerci he was going to slip the ball across the box, he spun round to feed Pjanic down the left wing.
The subsequent pull-back arched in front of Strootman and with a flick of his toe the ball bounced underneath Torino goalkeeper Daniele Padelli and home.
The Dutchman's strike had, however, come slightly ahead of schedule for a team who like to finish their opponents off late in the day and they struggled to resist the Torino fightback.
Old boy Cerci was the principal antagonist.
He curled a free-kick over the bar and was the first man to make Morgan De Sanctis work with a fierce drive that the visiting keeper parried out for a corner.
Roma did survive to the break but when play resumed they were still somewhat subdued.
The outfield's timidity caused De Sanctis further problems and he was soon leaping at full stretch to repel a snapshot from Riccardo Meggiorini.
The Giallorossi were clearly rattled and their insecurity told when the usually unflappable Benatia gave away the ball that led to Torino's 63rd-minute equaliser.
It was Meggiorini who caught the Moroccan cold and it was all too easy for him to pick out Cerci in the six-yard box for a regulation finish.
The 26-year-old's goal against his former employers ended their enviable stretch of 743 minutes without conceding and was, remarkably, only the second goal they had shipped all term.
Roma refused to accept their winning run was over and pushed for a second goal for 20 frustrating minutes.
It would be a hopeless pursuit, even if Marquinho did go close in the final throes.
His diving header was charged down in the box and, after the Brazilian put over in stoppage time, Roma had to take comfort from the knowledge they remain unbeaten in Serie A at the start of November.
Italy Serie A