Ageless Candreva stuns Roma with double in Salernitana draw

Aug 20 (Reuters) - Salernitana and AS Roma played out a 2-2 draw in their Serie A opener in front of a sellout crowd at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday after a glorious double from 36-year-old Antonio Candreva was cancelled out by an Andrea Belotti brace.

After Belotti opened the scoring, Candreva scored either side of halftime at a ground he is no stranger to having spent five seasons with Roma's cross-town rivals Lazio.

Belotti did not score a single league goal last season and he thought he had opened the scoring just eight minutes in with a fine finish after smartly controlling a lob, but VAR intervened to flag him offside.

However, he made no mistake in the 17th minute when he outmuscled the centre backs to trap another lob over the defence from Diego Llorente and fired his shot past Guillermo Ochoa in Salernitana's goal.

Candreva levelled the game after the half-hour mark when he glided through midfield unmarked and wrong-footed English centre back Chris Smalling by cutting in before pulling the trigger with a powerful strike into the roof of the net.

The Italian veteran then stunned the Olimpico crowd into silence when he controlled a cross near the edge of the box and curled a sensational effort with his weaker left foot past goalkeeper Rui Patricio, who shook his head in disbelief.

However, Belotti made it 2-2 in the 82nd minute when the 29-year-old found the back of the net with a towering header from a corner, rescuing a point while denying Salernitana a first win over Roma.

Roma were without manager Jose Mourinho as he serves a

10-day touchline ban

for criticising a referee at the end of last season.

Paulo Dybala and Lorenzo Pellegrini also missed the game through suspension after accumulating five yellow cards last season having been booked in Roma's final league game in June. (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)