Rome: AS Roma showed they still have an appetite for the fight in a hard-fought 1-0 win at Cesena, their first victory in over a month, in a match decided by a goal from "capitan futuro" Daniele De Rossi.
The club`s "captain of the future" was praised by current skipper and Roma stalwart Francesco Totti. "I`m proud of my team mates," Totti, who missed the game due to injury, wrote on his personal blog (http://www.francescototti.com).
"But I especially embrace Daniele. His goal allowed us to win at a difficult time for us and for him." Roma have won only three games since the Christmas break and a one-point gap on leaders Juventus has turned into a 14-point deficit which, with 10 league games remaining, has all but ended any realistic title hopes for Rudy Garcia`s men. "Finishing in second place is our goal," midfielder Radja Nainggolan told reporters.
"We have 10 games left and we have to try to grab as many points as we can."
Holding on to second place, which guarantees a spot in next season`s Champions League, will not be easy, however, with surging Lazio have narrowed the gap to one point after winning their sixth successive game against Verona.
The outcome could be decided in the second-last fixture of the season when the Roman sides meet in the most anticipated derby since the 2013 Coppa Italia final which Lazio won 1-0. After being torn apart at home by Fiorentina in Thursday`s Europa League game Garcia had promised that he would make changes and only use players who were ready to battle.
The French coach was true to his word against Cesena as 21-year old Salih Ucan was in the starting line-up for the first time this season and was replaced by youth-team midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini. "They (Ucan and Pellegrini) showed they`re ready to lend us a hand," Garcia said. "I`m happy for them." January transfer window signings Seydou Doumbia and Victor Ibarbo also played their parts and Roma now have almost two weeks to prepare for the next match against fifth-placed Napoli.