Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Serie A Review: Super-sub Totti inspires Roma comeback, Juve edge closer to title

SoccerNews in Serie A 20 Apr 2016

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Francesco Totti inspired a stirring comeback as Roma beat Torino 3-2 to move closer to Champions League qualification as Juventus took another step towards a fifth consecutive Serie A title on Wednesday.

Roma trailed 2-1 in the 86th minute when Totti was brought on at the Stadio Olimpico, Josef Martinez regaining the lead for Torino after Kostas Manolas had cancelled out Andrea Belotti’s 35th-minute penalty. 

But club legend Totti – who salvaged a point with a late equaliser at Atalanta on Sunday – levelled matters straight away following his introduction, prodding in at the far post after Manolas had flicked a free-kick into his path.

And two minutes later Totti completed the fightback, making Nikola Maksimovic pay for handling in the area by lashing the winning penalty into the bottom-left corner.

Third-placed Roma are now seven points clear of Inter in the battle for the final Champions League place after Roberto Mancini’s men suffered a 1-0 loss at Genoa, Sebastien De Maio’s 77th-minute strike sealing the win for the hosts at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Juve restored their nine-point advantage over Napoli at the top with a comfortable 3-0 home win over Lazio.

Mario Mandzukic put Juve ahead six minutes before half-time and Paulo Dybala – who returned from injury against Palermo on Sunday – made sure of the points with a second-half double after Patric was sent off for Lazio in the 48th minute.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina are nine points behind Roma in fifth after succumbing to a 2-1 loss at Udinese and at the other end Frosinone missed the chance to pull out of the bottom three, with Arlind Ajeti and Raman Chibsah sent off for the strugglers as they were thumped 5-1 by Chievo.

Sergio Pellissier netted a double for Chievo in a win that stretches their unbeaten run to six matches. Third-bottom Frosinone are a point adrift of Carpi, who play AC Milan on Thursday.

Second-bottom Palermo claimed what could be a crucial point with a 2-2 draw against Atalanta, the Sicilian club holding on for a point in spite of Roberto Vitiello’s late dismissal to go within two points of Carpi.

Sampdoria edged seven points clear of Frosinone with a 0-0 draw at Sassuolo despite Andrea Ranocchia being sent off in the first half, Domenico Berardi missing a late penalty for the hosts.

Elsewhere, Empoli are all but safe following a 1-0 defeat of rock-bottom Verona, who finished the game with 10 men.

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