Roma are having a record-breaking season in many ways. Entering their match against AC Milan, they had earned 82 points, 25 wins and suffered just two defeats, all but the latter are new club records and the remainder is equal with the previous feat.
With another victory, it would officially be the highest amount of wins and points in club history. However, the Giallorossi would become the first team to fail to win the league title with 83 points or more.
It’s a testament as to how strong Juventus have been this season. They’re on route for a third consecutive Scudetto, which would be the first time they’ve won three titles in a row since the 1930’s. Still, that doesn’t take away anything that manager Rudi Garcia has done with La Maggica this campaign.
Despite having a spot in the 2014/15 Champions League group stage secured, Roma clearly weren’t pulling any punches with their starting 11. It was going to be tough considering AC Milan’s form entering Friday night. The Rossoneri won five in a row and were still in the race for a Europa League spot.
Milan dominated possession in the first 20 minutes but it was Roma’s Francesco Totti who had the first opportunity. His shot from distance failed to hit the target. Then Sulley Muntari, Mario Balotelli and Kaka went for solo runs but they were halted by Roma defenders.
Roma then got into the game, and Dodo had their next chance as he volleyed the ball wide following a corner. Gervinho followed that up with a slalom run but he ran into a packed Milan defence and then Totti tried his luck from distance again but his shot flew over the bar.
After a short corner, Totti laid the ball off for Daniele De Rossi, who also blasted a long-range shot over the bar.
Pjanic broke the deadlock for Roma after 44 minutes with a terrific individual goal. After playing a one-two with Totti, he dribbled past three Milan defenders and side-footed his shot past Christian Abbiati at the near post. Abbiati got a touch on the shot but it was to no avail. There were questions about the back line for allowing the Bosnian that much space, not to mention the ease in which he avoided the challenges.
The second half started with Maicon driving a low right-wing cross which was caught by Abbiati, then Riccardo Montolivo had a chance for Milan, shooting from long range and just missing the target.
Totti’s low free-kick from the right-wing found Pjanic in space but his shot on the turn forced an excellent fingertip save from Abbiati.
Gervinho put the Giallorossi 2-0 up after 65 minutes. Dodo started drifting from the left, his pass found Ljajic, and he laid the ball off for Totti. His first-time shot was saved by Abbiati but the Ivorian winger knocked-in the rebound.
Montolivo had another opportunity from long range and De Sanctis required two attempts to catch the ball. Minutes later Adel Taarabt’s angled attempt was easily saved by De Sanctis.
In a fight to grab a consolation goal, Kaka chipped the ball into the penalty box for substitute Giampaolo Pazzini but the striker volleyed high over the bar. Milan tried to keep possession for the remainder of the match but Roma used the ball better and held on for the win.
Just like that, Roma set new records and can still increase them, but they’ll finish no lower or higher than second place. Considering the mess the capital club have been in over the past few years, it’s a tremendous accomplishment, however, it may go down as a case of bad luck, something Romanisti are familiar with.
Watch the highlights here:
Other Talking Points
- Post-match generated a couple of more storylines, mainly surrounding Mario Balotelli. The Italian international, whose World Cup spot is under threat according to manager Cesare Prandelli, had an impromptu interview with Sky Sport Italia. He was called out for not working hard enough and not being a “top player”, among other things. The full, transcribed event in English can be found here.
- Juventus moved another step closer to the Scudetto as they came from behind for the fifth time this season, defeating Sassuolo 3-1 at the Mapei Stadium. The Bianconeri lead Roma by eight points with three games left and could clinch the title on May 5th, a date that’s synonymous with Juve supporters.
- Hellas Verona hammered Catania 4-0 on Sunday afternoon. Luca Toni scored his 19th goal of the season but was denied his 20th due to a suspected gaff by Catania goalkeeper Alberto Frison. The 36-year-old is two goals behind Torino striker Ciro Immobile for the Capocannoniere.
- Immobile scored his 21st of the season in Torino’s 2-0 win against Udinese. The Granata are level with two other teams for 6th place as the Europa League race is slowly coming to a close.
- Juan Cuadrado was named man of the match in Fiorentina’s 3-0 victory over Bologna on Saturday.
- Inter and Napoli fought to a 0-0 draw in the other fixture on Saturday. Gonzalo Higuain had to be stretchered off with an ankle injury, but tests only revealed heavy bruising, meaning he may be good to go next week.
- Lazio’s resurgence through protests under Edy Reja continued with a 2-0 victory against Livorno. The Biancocelesti are level with sixth place Torino for the last Europa League place.
- Sampdoria won 2-1 with 10 men against Chievo on the same day it was revealed that former manager Vujadin Boskov passed away. The former Roma and Yugoslavia tactician was responsible for leading Samp to arguably their most successful period in club history. He guided them to a European Cup final in 1992 where they lost to Barcelona, a Scudetto and a Cup Winners Cup.
Other results: Cagliari 1-0 Parma; Atalanta 1-1 Genoa