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Sporting's Polga rescues Roma

Sporting Clube de Portugal 2-2 AS Roma
A 90th-minute own goal from Anderson Polga left the Italian visitors well-placed to progress from Group F.

A last-gasp own goal from Anderson Polga denied Sporting Clube de Portugal a vital victory against AS Roma and left the Italian side well placed to progress from UEFA Champions League Group F.

Late drama
The visitors made a spectacular start in Lisbon as Marco Cassetti gave them a fourth-minute advantage with a stunning shot but Liedson brought Sporting level midway through the opening half and when he headed the Portuguese team in front four minutes past the hour, it looked as if Sporting would join their opponents on six points with two games remaining. In the 90th minute, however, David Pizarro collected a short pass and unleashed a long-range effort that Polga inadvertently nodded into his own net to leave goalkeeper Tiago helpless and Roma jubilant.

Roma reshuffle
Already without Francesco Totti and Christian Panucci, the Giallorossi were dealt another blow when Max Tonetto damaged a thigh in the warm-up so Ludovic Giuly came into the side with Cassetti moving across to left-back. Rather than hinder Luciano Spalletti's men, the reshuffle seemed to inspire Roma, who took the lead with the first attack of the match as Cassetti made full use of his stronger right foot, cutting inside to rifle an unstoppable shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Liedson leveller
Paulo Bento's Sporting had also fallen behind early on at the Stadio Olimpico but equalised within three minutes on that occasion and swiftly rallied here, Doni spilling Abel's long-range strike and only being spared by the referee's whistle as Liedson challenged. The hosts did not have long to wait for parity, however, Philippe Mexes and Doni colliding as they attempted to cut out Marat Izmailov's low right-wing cross, leaving Liedson to roll his 100th goal for Sporting into an empty net.

Sporting chances
Sporting continued to press forward, Yannick Djaló nodding João Moutinho's corner wide and the latter going even closer as another Izmailov centre unsettled the Roma rearguard, side-footing past the post. After his part in Liedson's equaliser Mexes had only been able to continue following lengthy treatment and failed to re-emerge after half-time, Matteo Ferrari coming on in a bid to bring stability to a defence that had conceded 18 goals in its last ten matches.

Well-worked goal
The change initially served its purpose as Roma held the home attack at bay in the early stages of the second period, although Miguel Veloso sliced wide having deftly worked a metre of space. Roma came unstuck four minutes past the hour, though, when a neat short corner gave the busy Izmailov the time and the room to deliver a pinpoint delivery to the far post, where the unmarked Liedson finished off with a fine diving header.

Last-gasp heartache
Izmailov nearly got the goal his tireless performance had deserved a few minutes later, but was unable to gather the return pass after combining well with substitute Simon Vukčević. Mancini threatened an equaliser, yet just when it looked as though Sporting would hold on they were denied at the last and stay three points behind Roma in the race for second spot behind Manchester United FC.