Roma scored two first-half goals from Stephan El Shaarawy and Bryan Cristante, but Chievo battled back with two second-half goals to earn a 2-2 draw.
Roma were rightly booed off after they chucked away a two-goal lead at home to Serie A's bottom side, allowing a lively Chievo to snatch a point in a 2-2 draw when they should have been dead and buried. First-half strikes from Stephan El Shaarawy and Bryan Cristante -- his first for the club -- put the hosts in a comfortable position, but they switched off after a drink break 30 minutes in on a hot day at the Stadio Olimpico, and, in the end, they had goalkeeper Robin Olsen to thank for a depressing draw not turning into a humiliating defeat.
Valter Birsa brought Chievo back into the match after his side missed two great chances late in the first half with a superb strike six minutes after the break, and afterward, Roma failed to take advantage of their dominance, with Lorenzo Pellegrini and Cengiz Under fluffing presentable chances to re-extend Roma's lead to two.
To their credit, Chievo continued to pose problems to Roma's back line and Mariusz Stepinski's 83rd-minute leveller didn't come so much as a shock but as a reminder of how flaky the Giallorossi are. Aleksandar Kolarov would have stumbled a low cross into his own net if it hadn't been for a brilliant Olsen save, and both he and the awful Juan Jesus were too slow to close the striker down as he turned and drove home the leveller.
Roma immediately reacted and pushed Chievo back, and as the match inched into injury time, a disconsolate Edin Dzeko missed a golden chance to win the match, heading way high and wide with the goal at his mercy. Moments later, Emanuele Giaccherini was denied an incredible match winner by Olsen, who managed to tip Giaccherini's powerful curling strike off the crossbar and keep the number of points lost to two.
Real Madrid must be licking their lips for Wednesday night.
After slow starts in previous matches, Roma got off the mark quickly, and their two goals were gorgeous. Alessandro Florenzi's looping back-post cross for El Shaarawy was a delight while the neat three-man move that led to Cristante's goal was exactly the kind of swift, clean football Di Francesco has been trying to get his team to play since he arrived. Cristante shook off criticism over recent displays for Roma and Italy with an enterprising performance, while going forward the team frequently looked fluid and with a clear idea of what it needed to do.
With the match looking dead and buried, Roma allowed Chievo back in and in truth were lucky to come away with a point. It's also unclear how Roma are going to get Edin Dzeko firing again, as match after match seems to pass by without him having any real chances on goal, and it's clearly started to affect his on-pitch mood.
Manager rating (out of 10)
4 -- Di Francesco can't be blamed for the Jesus-Kolarov dual brain fart that allowed Stepinski to equalise, nor was his team selection particularly out there given his team's midweek European commitment. However, there has been really no progress since he took over, and the constant defensive uncertainty means that no match can be considered safe until the final whistle blows.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Robin Olsen, 6 -- Looked like he had lead in his boots for Birsa's strike, but he could hardly be blamed for the goal. In the end, saved a point.
DF Alessandro Florenzi, 7 -- Beautiful cross for El Shaarawy's opener and almost laid on another for him soon after. Dynamic.
DF Kostas Manolas, 6 -- Let down by his partner, he was solid if unspectacular.
DF Juan Jesus, 3 -- Uncertain in the tackle and distracted, he and Kolarov were the worst of a really bad afternoon.
DF Aleksandar Kolarov, 4 -- Had an absolutely shocker on Stepinski's goal. Imprecise with his distribution and too often out of position.
MF Lorenzo Pellegrini, 6 -- Unlucky not to score with a decent second half chance. Outshone by Cristante.
MF Steven Nzonzi, 6 -- Struggled to get hold of Birsa and Giaccherini on his own. Kept the ball moving neatly once he got hold of it.
MF Bryan Cristante, 7 -- Took his goal very nicely indeed and was always looking for a forward pass to get his team moving
FW Cengiz Under, 6 -- Forward-thinking but not his usual punishing self. The pass to Dzeko that allowed him to lay on Cristante's opener was the highlight.
FW Edin Dzeko, 5 -- Lovely lay-off for Cristante's strike but an otherwise very quiet showing. Roma struggle to get him service and he looks in a funk about it.
FW Stephan El Shaarawy, 7 -- Loves playing against Chievo and it showed. Full of vim and vigour.
DF Rick Karsdorp, 5 -- Unsure and nervous seeming. Still needs time to get into the swing of things after such a long time dealing with injuries.
MF Daniele De Rossi, 6 -- Gave Nzonzi a much-needed helping hand in midfield. Neat and tidy as usual.
FW Justin Kluivert, NR -- Offered a glimpse of the danger he could pose defences if given the chance over 90 minutes.