Serie A wrap: Totti magic wins it for Roma
By Football News
Roma ended a run of seven Serie A matches without a win by stunning leaders Juventus on Saturday, while Chievo and Palermo played out a draw.
Francesco Totti scored the only goal of the game on 58 minutes, the Roma captain finding the top left corner of Gianluigi Buffon's goal with an unstoppable 25-yard drive to seal the 1-0 triumph.
Juventus tried to rally in the remaining half hour but a blunt Roma outfit were unable to force an equaliser, meaning Napoli can now cut their lead at the summit of the standings to just two points should they defeat Sampdoria at home on Sunday.
Despite their woeful recent form, Roma began in a sprightly fashion, with Pablo Osvaldo looking particularly lively up front.
Indeed, the volatile forward threatened twice inside the opening 10 minutes, cutting inside Leonardo Bonucci early on only to shoot straight at Buffon, before then being forced too far wide by the Juventus skipper to get a shot away, after being slipped through by Erik Lamela.
However, Juventus, despite their Champions League exertions in midweek, also played their part in what was an agreeably open start to the game, with Andrea Pirlo very nearly opening the scoring with a clever free kick that could very easily have sneaked into the bottom right corner of Maarten Stekelenburg’s goal had the Dutchman not got down so swiftly to parry the ball to safety.
Rather frustratingly, though, the pace of the game dropped and the atmosphere became increasingly tetchy.
Happily, the half-time break removed some of the mounting tension from the game, allowing both sides to rediscover their attacking instincts, with particularly pleasing results for the neutral.
First, Osvaldo hooked the ball just wide after sliding to get on the end of Totti's through-ball and then, just moments later, Mirko Vucinic's whizzed the most wonderfully executed volley just past Stekelenburg's right post.
It was obvious that a goal was coming and it arrived just before the hour mark - and in sensational fashion.
Miralem Pjanic tried his luck with a free kick but it was blocked by the Juventus wall. However, the ball only went as far as Totti, who unleashed a blistering, first-time shot that gave Buffon in the Juventus goal absolutely no chance.
Juventus pushed forward in search of an equaliser but, in truth, it was Roma who looked the more likely to score next, and it was only a combination of poor finishing and wonderful defending that prevented them from doing so.
In the end, though, a solitary strike from their skipper proved enough to earn Roma a long overdue win - and blow the Scudetto race wide open in the process.
In the only other Serie A match on Saturday, Chievo played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at home against Palermo.
Mauro Formica gave Palermo the lead in the fifth minute with a well taken strike, but Cyril Thereau equalised from the penalty spot some 10 minutes into the second half to ensure the points were shared.
Chievo move up to 11th with the point, while Palermo jump off the bottom of the table to 19th.