The Serie A is wide open again, for Napoli at least. A dramatic 1-0 win for Roma at a sold out Stadio Olimpico against Juventus means Napoli can go within two points of La Vecchia Signora with a win on Sunday.
Like every good Italian match these days, it was laden with controversy. A first-half horror tackle by Er Pupone, Francesco Totti nearly caused a serious injury for Andrea Pirlo, as the Roma captain went full-blooded right into Pirlo's kneecap. Not giving a red card for a challenge of this nature makes you wonder if referee Gianluca Rocchi was swayed by the fervent home crowd support.
Adding insult to injury, Totti went on to become the genesis for his team, as a deflected set piece taken by Miralem Pjanic bounced into the path of the streaking legend, who hammered an absolute rocket into Gianluigi Buffon's net.
With 224 goals domestically, Francesco Totti is one goal shy of equaling the total set by the legendary Gunnar Nordahl back in the 1950s. He has seemingly entered the rejuvenation machine this season, netting nine goals in 23 appearances under Zdenek Zeman and now Aurelio Andreazzoli. Also, Totti has scored more times against Buffon than any other goalkeeper in Serie A. Saturday was another beautiful display of two
Andreazzoli makes watching Roma much less gut-wrenching for supporters of La Maggica. With his balanced approach to the game and more sensible starting formation, Aurelio can be lauded already. Going with the experience of Maarten Stekelenburg and future captain Daniele De Rossi gives the team a more competitive starting 11.
Defeating Juventus is the first step for a new-look Roma to renew their pursuit of European glory. Although a spot in the top three is highly unlikely, a late rush to get into the Europa League is not completely out of the cards. You have to figure Totti has another season or two to give to his beloved club. It would be a fairy-tale story for one of the last true Bandiere (team icons) in Italian soccer to grace a major competition shown to a world stage.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!