Catania-Roma abandoned due to rain
© AFP

Heavy rain caused the Serie A clash between Catania and Roma in Sicily to be abandoned in the second half, with the match level at 1-1.

Nicola Legrottaglie had given the hosts the lead in the 24th minute only for Daniele De Rossi to equalise three minutes later.

The match had already been delayed before kick-off due to a torrential downpour, with referee Paolo Tagliavento initially taking the players off the pitch only to return a few minutes later.

But 20 minutes into the second period he called a halt to proceedings with the view to seeing if the rain would stop and allow play to be restarted. By that time the pitch was so waterlogged that the ball would not bounce or roll and the decision was eventually made to abandon the game. The final 20 minutes will have to be played at a later date.

For the players' safety it was right to stop the game, and also in terms of the spectacle and for the fans.
Luis Enrique, Roma coach

Both coaches agreed the pitch had become unplayable. "We were playing too much down the middle against a team that kept things tight, we made too many mistakes and in the end we were lucky," said Roma's Luis Enrique.

"In the second half the rain made it impossible to play. Not only couldn't they play but there was a risk of suffering an injury. For the players' safety it was right to stop the game, and also in terms of the spectacle and for the fans."

Although his side were on top, Catania's Vincenzo Montella, who coached Roma for three months last season, concurred with his counterpart.

"You couldn't play and the pitch was too heavy, it wasn't a spectacle any more," he said. "Apart from the risk of injury I honestly prefer when the team has the possibility of playing football."

De Rossi equalises
Catania had enjoyed by far the better of proceedings before the stoppage. They created the first clear chance but Gonzalo Bergessio headed wide from Mariano Izco's cross.

Roma had a legitimate penalty shout when Aleandro Rosi surged into the box, beating two players before going down, but Tagliavento was unmoved.

Bergessio then took a cross from Pablo Barrientos and clean through he beat goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg from close in, only to see Simon Kjaer block the ball on the line with his standing leg, having swiped and missed with the other one.

But a minute later Catania took a deserved 24th-minute lead as Legrottaglie rose above Juan to head home Francesco Lodi's free-kick.

The lead lasted only three minutes, though, before De Rossi was afforded the freedom of the six-yard box to head home Francesco Totti's corner.

Catania proceeded to dominate the rest of the half and Bergessio twice missed the target when set up by Barrientos, while Alejandro Gomez turned Rosi inside out but shot beyond the far post.

Pitch plays havoc
By the time the second half started the pitch was so waterlogged that the ball would barely roll along the ground. One shot from Bojan Krkic travelled barely five yards before the pitch stopped it.

The end came when Tagliavento tried to bounce the ball a couple of times and decided the game could not go on.