Sunday, 30 November 2008

Totti Inspiring The Wolves !

Captain Totti Helps Roma Defeat Fiorentina
Roma 1–0 Fiorentina

Roma went into their Serie A clash with Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico confident that the worst was behind them. The Giallorossi had a torrid start to the season, picking up all three points in just two of their first 10 games in the league.

Things had recently turned around however, as a 1-0 win over Lazio in the Rome derby two weeks ago followed by a convincing 3-0 victory away to Lecce in the last game had dragged the capital club up to 14th place, three points clear of the relegation zone.

The Viola started the season well but have been shaky away from Florence. An impressive 4-2 win over Udinese last weekend had boosted their confidence and they were looking to bounce back immediately after their midweek Champions League elimination and avoid a fifth away defeat of the season.

First Half

Roma got the encounter underway at the Olimpico in Rome, and the home team were immediately dangerous, winning a free kick and underlining their intent with a free kick from Daniele De Rossi that found the head of Juan, who put the ball agonizingly wide. Two minutes later the Viola responded with an equally dangerous effort from Adrian Mutu.

His free kick required a fantastic save from Cristian Doni to said the ball out for a corner. The first few minutes were dominated by free kick attempts which kept Doni and Sebastian Frey on their toes. On 8 minutes a cracker from Riccardo Montolivo was well saved by Doni, and the Roma fans breathed a sigh of relief.

The early chances were evenly spread, with end to end action entertaining the Olimpico crowd, and in the 15th minute a cross from Zauri found Alberto Gilardino in the box, but his header went over the bar and out. Roma captain Francesco Totti was his usual menacing self, creating great opportunities for his team mates, and threatening to score on a number of occasions.

The entertainment continued, as Zauri's crosses for the Viola became more promising, and De Rossi unleashed a stunning long range strike that went slightly wide of the post.

Roma and Fiorentina both continued to attack in waves of enthralling football, which saw the pace of the game stay high for the duration of the first half, with the two opponents trying to break the deadlock and push ahead in the match.

Another flurry of free kicks with ten minutes left till half time saw Vargas send the ball straight out, before a Roma kick taken by De Rossi was almost turned in by the head of the Giallorosso man of the moment Matteo Brighi, but his header could only hit the post.

With three minutes left on the clock the home side was desperately trying to get the opener, but Cassetti's shot from a Vucinic pass went just wide of Frey's goal. After a minute of injury time the score was 0-0 and the side's went into the change rooms for the half time break.

Second Half

Roma started the second half brightly, as talisman Totti had a strike at goal which was deflected out for a corner. A minute later Fiorentina were dangerous with Kuzmanovic's cross missing the final tough from Santana to send it into the back of the net.

On 6 minutes Kuzmanovic hit a shot from outside the area, requiring Brazilian keeper Doni to dive low and save. Four minutes later Frey was called into action with a shot from Baptista which deflected off Gamberini, but the keeper did well to tip the ball out for a corner.

Roma's pressure and the influence of the home support finally paid off when the Giallorossi broke the deadlock through captain Totti. On 59 minutes a cross from Brazilian Taddei found Totti running on the edge of the area and his powerful shot beat Frey in the Viola goal, making it 1-0 for the home side.

A few minutes later Roma had a great chance to extend their lead with a header from Vucinic, but Frey did very well to keep the ball out and the Viola in the game.

In the 70th minute Philippe Mexes and Gilardino went up for the same ball, but the Frenchman fell badly, landing on his head and staying down for some time, before getting up and continuing on.

Mutu had done very little for the Giallorossi in the second half, but it was Gilardino that was substituted off, making space for Giampaolo Pazzini to join his team mates in a last gasp push to equalise and perhaps get something out of the encounter.

With ten minutes remaining, substitute Pazzini had his first attempt at goal, but his shot was disappointing, and without troubling Doni the ball went out. A minute later Roma had another close chance, with a missile from Baptista rattling the cross bar before Taddei's attempt at the rebound came to nothing.

The match moved into the final stages, and Fiorentina were looking desperate and running out of ideas, the Viola attempted a few rushed attacks which landed up being fodder for more Giallorossi counter attacks.

A shot from Almiron with five minutes remaining went high and wide, and Roma began to realise how close they were to a win against a top class Viola outfit. With two minutes remaining, goal hero Totti was replaced with Menez to a standing ovation from the crowd in honour of his fourth goal in five games.

In the last few minutes the visitors came close to an equaliser but Mutu's free kick went just over the bar. After a few minutes of injury time the referee ended the game with the score at 1-0 for Roma, leaving the Giallorossi with all three points and sending the Viola home with no points.


GOALS: Totti 59' (Roma)

ROMA: Doni; Cassetti (Cicinho 66'), Juan, Mexes (Loria 75'), Riise; Perrotta, De Rossi, Brighi; Baptista; Vucinic, Totti (Menez 88').

FIORENTINA: Frey; Zauri, Kroldrup, Gamberini, Vargas; Kuzmanovic (Almiron 73'), Felipe Melo, Montolivo; Santana (Jovetic 62'), Gilardino (Pazzini 76'), Mutu.

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