Rome: Roma reignited their Serie A title
hopes with a pair of penalties to stun leaders Lazio 2-0 in
the Rome derby at the Stadio Olimpico.
Marco Borriello and Mirko Vucinic both netted from the
spot to give Claudio Ranieri`s men the honours yesterday.
AC Milan went second and closed the gap to Lazio at the
top to two points as they won 3-2 at rock bottom Bari.
Roma are now seven points behind Lazio but perhaps more
importantly just four behind champions Inter Milan in third.
Lazio coach Edy Reja complained that the referee had not
been fair on his team.
"My players are saying, that`s enough, you can`t play
against 12," he said.
"The game was decided by certain episodes. In the
previous days Roma were complaining that they never got any
decisions, well they can`t do that now.”
"We were denied a penalty at 1-0, (John Arne) Riise
fouled (Stefano) Mauri.”
"For the penalty for 2-0 (Julio) Batista had already
fouled (Guglielmo) Stendardo, which should have been given,
and then Simplicio handled (in the area) near the end."
Roma coach Claudio Ranieri saw things differently.
"I don`t understand what they`re complaining about, in
the first half we were denied a valid goal," he said.
"If Lazio lost because of the referee then that will only
please Roma fans even more, now they will be lapping it up
like the rich."
The first half in Rome was a tight affair with few
chances although Lazio captain Tommaso Rocchi was just inches
away from converting Mauri`s inviting centre.
Lazio opened up Roma again on 21 minutes but Brazilian
playmaker Hernanes leant back as he connected with Stefan
Radu`s pull-back and smashed it high over the bar.
Simone Perrotta squeezed a shot inches wide for Roma
before the visitors had the ball in the net on 43 minutes.
Riise released Borriello down the left and he crossed for
Leandro Greco to slot home from close range but Borriello was
hit with a narrow and debatable offisde decision.
Into first half injury time Borriello used his strength
to bring down a ball on his chest but from eight yards
couldn`t hook his shot on target.
And yet just after the restart Roma were deservedly in
Simplicio`s goal-bound shot hit Stephan Lichsteiner on
the arm and although he could do little to get out of the way,
the referee had no choice but to award the penalty.
Borriello`s effort was weak but it somehow managed to
squeeze under Fernando Muslera`s body and over the line on 52
Hernanes should have done better when Christian Brocchi`s
ball over the top sent him in one-on-one with Julio Sergio but
his shot hit the goalkeeper`s leg.
Simplicio should have added a second 13 minutes from time
after Riise`s bursting run down the left but the Brazilian hit
the bar from 10 yards out.
Lazio then missed a glorious opportunity as Mauri failed
to turn in Christian Ledesma`s free-kick from inside the
Vucinic kept Muslera busy with a vicious daisy-cutter
from 20 yards before Pasquale Foggia crashed a back post
half-volley against the woodwork from close range.
But three minutes from time Vucinic sent Muslera the
wrong way from the spot after Andre Dias was harshly judged to
have brought down Baptista despite minimal contact.
Milan were off to a good start in the south as Massimo
Ambrosini and Mathieu Flamini put them in charge in the first
And Pato`s goal after the break sandwiched by Vitaly
Kutuzov and Paulo Barreto efforts proved the winner.
Injury-hit Juventus remain fourth after they came back
from a goal down to beat 10-man Cesena 3-1.
In the day`s late game Palermo kept pace with the
European challengers as Mauricio Pinilla`s goal defeated Genoa
On Saturday, champions Inter Milan needed a dubious
penalty award to earn a 1-1 draw at home to Brescia.
The visitors had opened the scoring on 14 minutes through
Andrea Caracciolo but Samuel Eto`o`s 17th goal in 16 games
this season - one more than he managed in the whole of the
last campaign - from the spot 17 minutes from time levelled