Roma labour to draw at Parma
Roma coach Claudio Ranieri's position is likely to come under further scrutiny this week after his side played out a dour goalless draw at struggling Parma.
I Giallorossi were beaten 3-1 at home by Basel in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, and their inability to overcome a Parma side without a win since the opening day will not have helped convince Ranieri's growing number of doubters.
Former Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard has been touted as a possible replacement after he left Galatasaray last week, but with the pressure mounting on their coach Roma failed to deliver in a match woefully short on creativity.
Parma threatened early with Fernando Marques forcing Bogdan Lobont to tip over his long-range effort before captain Stefano Morrone shot wide. Marco Borriello weakly shot wide as Roma finally started to show some punch with the half-hour approaching, before Francesco Totti fizzed a long-range free-kick narrowly over.
Parma should have gone ahead, however, in the 39th minute when an unmarked Marques wasted the best chance of the match. Francesco Valiani forced his way into the area and pulled the ball back for Alessandro Lucarelli, who showed good vision to spot Marques at the back post. But his strike partner, without a defender in attendance, spooned his effort from six yards hopelessly over.
Mirko Vucinic could have drawn the ire of the referee just before the interval when he kicked out at Morrone as he lay over the ball in front of the dug-outs. The Parma bench were unhappy, but Vucinic escaped punishment after the referee suggested he made contact with the ball.
The laboured Totti, without a goal in 12 games, was withdrawn at the break with Fabio Simplico sent on. A dour contest was almost lit up by an athletic Phillippe Mexes volley from a corner which was deflected just wide off Valiani. Mexes and then Simplico blasted over from outside the area as Roma enjoyed a rare good spell.
Stefano Okaka drew a low save from Antonio Mirante soon after he came on, while at the other end Morrone headed way off target to underline both sides' poor day in front of goal.
The lack of creativity was, however, best summed up just before the whistle when Julio Baptista led a counter-attack. The Brazilian initially did well to race to the edge of the area but, with a host of options and time to choose one of them, he only managed to dink a two-yard pass to the defender in front of him.