MOTD: Roma 4-2 Fiorentina

Game in a sentence

Francesco Totti leads Roma to a well deserved victory in an early contender for match of the year.

Observations

  • Some curious decisions from both managers was the story before kickoff. Daniele De Rossi, returning from suspension, was left on the bench along with Pablo Osvaldo. Vincenzo Montella inserted Juan Cuadrado behind Luca Toni with Ruben Olivera in central midfield.
  • It didn’t take long for the fireworks (and canon shots, was not used to the canon) to begin. Panagiotis Tachtsidis connected on a Francesco Totti free kick in the 7th minute to open the scoring. Emiliano Viviano — who had a howler of a day — was caught ball watching on the play, something goal keepers probably shouldn’t do. With the goal Fiorentina conceded for the first time within 15 minutes of  a match. Statz.
  • Seven minutes later the visitors would equalize thanks to a hilariously poor offside trap that resulted in three Viola players hanging out, unmarked in the box.Facundo Roncaglia finished a well worked passing play that left Mauro Goicoechea helpless. After a relatively dour slate of games — Swansea/Norwich aside — this fixture was the elixir for bored footy fans. Attacking football is fun football.
  • Francesco Totti is old. The 36-year-old is also still pretty damn good as Roma seized on Fiorentina’s willingness to sit back. Totti played an excellent give and go with Mattia Destro in the 19th minute to put Roma ahead once again. Zeman flashed a brief smile before being enveloped by his unruly hair. It was Totti’s 275th goal — he wasn’t done.
  • One minute later Olivera somehow avoided a red card after maliciously stomping on Miralem Pjanic. The midfielder escaped with a yellow and the unavoidable truth — he should’ve been gone.
  • We got a slice of superb defending along with the attacking fun. Gonzalo Rodriguez pulled off the rare double challenge, foiling Michael Bradley.
  • Speaking of the American, Bradley had an excellent half. Destro, Totti and Bradley sat comfortably in the final third, providing ample opportunities for Tachtsidis and Pjanic to add to the lead.
  • Totti would take matters into his own hands just before the halftime whistle. Goal number 276 was a swerving wonder strike that Viviano made much more complicated than it was. Nonetheless the goal had the Totti swagger that polarizes so many. You can’t hate what’s good.
  • Mercifully Olivera was subbed off to begin the second half. His replacement, Mounir El Hamdaoui, would cut the deficit to one just 15 seconds later. The super sub leached on to an excellent ball  from Borja Valero. 3-2. Game on.
  • Roma continued to press forward. Rodriguez, once again, did a fantastic job blocking a Destro shot after Bradley was thwarted by Goicoechea. The Argentinian defender seemed to be the only Fiorentina player interested in defending on this day.
  • A relatively tame half was brought to life near the end. Luca Toni made way for Haris Seferovic, a move that emboldened the Viola attack. It’s worth asking if Montella waited too long in making the switch. Three clear cut chances, including a clearance off the line by Bradley indicated there was at least one more goal in this game.
  • There was, but unfortunately for the visitors it was not theirs. A magnificent Totti pass found the boot of Osvaldo — who replaced Destro — leaving Rodriguez in no man’s land. 4-2. What a game.
  • In the end we were treated to  a wonderful display of attacking football. If you were trying to convince a friend/significant other/mortal enemy to get into Italian football, hopefully this game was used in the sell job. That was fun.

Three stars

1. Francesco Totti

2. Gonzalo Rodriguez

3. Michael Bradley