Lukaku scores in 89th minute to help Chelsea to 2-1 comeback victory over Roma
WASHINGTON – Romelu Lukaku scored in the 89th minute to lift Chelsea FC to a 2-1 victory over AS Roma in its final tuneup before opening English Premier League play next weekend.
Frank Lampard tied it for the London-based club in the 61st minute to tie it after Eric Lamela's opportunistic 21st-minute strike for Roma, which was also in the final match of a three-game North American preseason tour.
Eden Hazard and Demba Ba helped set up both Chelsea goals.
Saturday's match capped a four-game American preseason tour for Chelsea, which won all three of its matches against Italian opposition.
The Blues defeated Inter Milan and A.C. Milan earlier this month, both 2-0, before falling 3-1 to Real Madrid on Wednesday.
They created more chances throughout Saturday's match and were rewarded in the match's closing moments when Hazard rounded the Roma defense on the left and drove a shot into goalkeeper Morgan de Sanctis' body.
The rebound fell to Ba, who played a neat pass for Lukaku to finish into the net from about 6 yards.
After a string of Chelsea pressure earlier in the half, Lampard tied it after another swift attack that began when Hazard's pass from the left found Ba.
Ba played a quick touch to Lampard, who took a couple of steps and then fired a 22-yard effort inside the left post and beyond the dive of de Sanctis, sending a crowd of 25,615 at RFK Stadium that mostly wore Chelsea blue into delight.
That goal tied it after Lamela's strike that came after a nightmarish mistake from Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
With Roma pressuring the ball, Ryan Bertrand played a pass back to Schwarzer, who fumbled his trap attempt. Schwarzer chased the ball, but it smacked off the left post, past the goalkeeper and back in front of the goal, where Lamela sent it into an empty net.
After Lampard's goal, Roma nearly went ahead again two minutes later when Pablo Osvaldo attempted to head Francesco Totti's cross over goalkeeper Jamal Blackman, who leaped to tip the ball over for a corner kick.
The Italian side that features American midfielder Michael Bradley missed another chance in the 78th minute, with Osvaldo this time shooting over the crossbar on an open chance from the left.
Chelsea, meanwhile, was reduced to twice appealing for penalty kicks from American referee Armando Villarreal before finding a bit of late magic.
Chelsea opens its English Premier League season at Hull City on Aug. 18. The London-based club finished third last season and last won the league title in the 2009-10 season.
The Blues also won the Europa League last season and the UEFA Champions League the season before that.
Roma defeated the Major League Soccer All-Stars 3-1 on July 31 and MLS club Toronto FC 4-1 on Wednesday night.
The club opens its Serie A league season at Livorno on Aug. 25. Roma has played 12 seasons without winning a league title, finishing runners-up six times in that stretch.