Rome: Marco Borriello came back to haunt former club AC Milan, scoring the only goal of the game as Roma blew the Serie A title race wide open.
Borriello struck 21 minutes from time yesterday with a
lucky goal he knew next to nothing about but that won`t have
worried the 28-year-old who was ditched by Milan in favour of
bog-money signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the start of the
Victory was vital for Claudio Ranieri`s team, who would
have fallen 13 points off the leaders had they lost.
Instead they are now just seven points behind Milan whose
lead will be cut to three points should either Juventus,
Napoli or Lazio win on Sunday.
Ranieri was understandably happy.
"Of course a win against the league leaders means a lot,
if we`d have lost we`d have suffered a notable psychological
"Winning has kept us alive, although we`re aware of our
French winger Jeremy Menez, who created the winning goal,
said this victory was vital.
"It was important to win most of all to show that we`re
still in it, that we`re Roma," he said.
"We have a great team.”
"Before heading off on holiday we`ve won an important
"We believe in the title and we always have. The season
is long and we hope we`ll continue to do well after the winter
Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri complained that his team
had not been clinical enough.
"As we didn`t play particularly well we deserved a draw
but when you`re not nasty enough in the right moments, these
things can happen," he said.
Given the high stakes it was perhaps unsurprising that
the match was a largely cagey affair.
The first half in particular featured almost no attacking
from Roma, who seemed content to simply defend the edge of
Even so, Milan struggled to create much.
Just five minutes in Robinho was released down the left
by Andrea Pirlo and after twisting and teasing Philippe Mexes
he dummied the Frenchman, leaving him on the seat of his
pants, and cut inside but stabbed a weak shot wide.
Pirlo lasted barely half the first period before being
replaced by Clarence Seedorf who shot straight at goalkeeper
Doni from a good position.
On the half hour Kevin-Prince Boateng beat John Arne
Riise down the right and hit an inviting cross into the box
which Nicolas Burdisso thumped clear.
Roma had a pair of half chances but Jeremy Menez twice
blazed wildly off target.
Ibrahimovic, who had a game to forget, should have done
better on 35 minutes when he beat the offside trap but he got
the ball caught in his feet and then flicked a pathetic chip
straight into Doni`s arms.
There was little action after the break apart from a
Seedorf lashing a shot high and wide until Roma took a
Menez was the architect as he burst to the byline down
the right and hit a dangerous cross which full-back Ignazio
Abate, in trying to clear his lines, succeeded only in
thumping off Borriello`s shins and into the net.
That was soon followed by two more gilt-edged chances for
Ibrahimovic who twice beat the offside trap again -- although
both times looking suspiciously offside -- only to lift two
shots over the bar with only Doni to beat.
Roma by now, though, were far more involved in the game
and Daniele De Rossi hit a stunning dipping volley from 30
yards that Christian Abbiati had to tip over.
Milan started to push late on and Boateng blasted a shot
wide and substitute Ronaldinho volleyed over with an acrobatic