Real Madrid beware, the Giallorossi have found the best way possible to prepare for their Champions League midweek fixture. Nothing will give your team a bigger boost than winning a home game 4-0: physically in excellent shape, and psychologically unshaken by the Javier Zanetti-show earlier this week, Roma really put on the style today. Luciano Spalletti can look at the future with a brighter light, also because his injury list has gotten considerably smaller (in contrast, there are insisting rumours from Spain casting serious doubts on Van Nistelrooy’s presence Wednesday). As for Parma, they paid a heavy price for their lack of offensive initiative in the first half, but more importantly the many many mistakes committed by their defensive line-up.
The first half of this match was rather enjoyable, with Parma starting off at high pace despite their “prudent” tactical line-up (a 4-4-1-1 formation with Andrea Gasbarroni providing support behind lone striker Igor Budan). The first 8 minutes saw the Gialloblu get 4 corner-kicks in quick succession, and managed to put Roma’s keeper Doni in ‘alert’ mode (Daniele Dessena’s header narrowly missing the mark). However, Roma’s reaction didn’t take long to arrive, and despite conceding a little too much space on counter-attacks (allowing Budan to test Doni’s ball-punching ability), the Giallorossi were the first to take the lead.
In minute 26, Parma keeper Luca Bucci saw a dangerous cross by Max Tonetto coming in from the left wing. Attempting to emulate his gloved Roma colleague< Bucci went in to punch the ball to safety… but failed. Quite miserably. In fact, his clearance was directly onto the left foot of Alberto Aquilani (getting the start over David Pizarro) who could not wish for a better invitation to get on the scoreboard. 1-0 Roma, and goal nº3 this season for Giallorossi midfielder.
Conceding the goal did little to re-invigorate Parma’s awareness: instead, the Gialloblu almost went down 2-0 when Rodrigo Taddei and Francesco Totti obtained two back-to-back chances (this time ably neutralized by Bucci). But speaking of the two Roma players, they were those who compared to their team’s latest games showed the most improvement today: Taddei with his energy and reaction on the wing, and Totti with his playmaking and key passing capabilities.
Speaking of Roma’s nº10, Francesco Totti received a special award at the start of the match, for overtaking Giacomo Losi in the all-time caps record with the Giallorossi shirt. This actually happened in the match against Inter earlier this week, but such celebrations are usually done in the home stadium, hence the award ceremony at the Olimpico today.
The half thus finished on a 1-0 Roma scoreline, but not before Parma had a good chance to draw level with Gasbarroni (narrowly wide free-kick with Doni not even hinting a move). After the break, the visitors attempted to repeat their flashy first half debut, and immediately pushed forward. A good tactic if in so doing you obtain a goal, a bad one if you end up conceding it. Guess what Parma did?
In minute 51 following a yet another Tonetto cross, Giulio Falcone attempted a dangerous bicycle kick inside his box, trying to anticipate Panucci for the ball. The last time someone in Serie A did something like this, the referee ended up calling up a penalty kick. This time it wasn’t necessary however, because the ball connected with Falcone’s right leg, rebounded onto his left, then over Bucci into goal. Crappy, but Roma will take it. 2-0.
3 minutes later, Parma could have pulled one back through Paolo Castellini. In fact they did, but the linesman signalled the Gialloblu had played the ball with his hand. Another cause for referee crucifixion this week? Depending on the angle of video replays, it is fairly hard to see, but given by the moderate reaction of the Parma players and Castellini himself, one can assume that it was indeed handball.
At this point, Domenico Di Carlo decided to make a few changes: out Coly and Budan for Andrea Pisanu and Cristiano Lucarelli, then Reginaldo for Gasbarroni. Speaking of Coly, the Senegalese player didn’t particularly appreciate his substitution (making it clearly known to his manager), but one thing he probably liked ever less was Roma’s third goal. Cycling the ball on the right wing, Cicinho found Esposito (on for Giuly) inside the box, who immediately backheeled it for Totti outside the box. The Roma captain the blasted a one-time howitzer directly inside Bucci’s left post, where the Parma keeper could never reach. A rather delightful play, as much in the build-up as in the finish: 3-0 Roma and game over.
The final minute even allowed the Giallorossi to score goal nº4, when a poor Damiano Zenoni clearance found Mirko Vucinic ready for the finish: 4-0 final score. For Roma, this is the 9th consecutive victory at the Stadio Olimpico, and with Napoli-Inter scheduled for Sunday, they now find themselves 6 points from 1st spot. Each Romanista will be praying and hoping that this Serie A season still hasn’t said its last word, and frankly, so do we.
|GOALSCORERS: 27’ Aquilani (R), 61’ Falcone o.g. (R), 80’ Totti (R), 94’ Vucinic (R)|
|ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni – Cicinho, Panucci, Ferrari, Tonetto (81’ Antunes) – Brighi, Aquilani – Taddei, Giuly (64’ M.Esposito), Mançini (28′ s.t. Vucinic) – Totti. (bench: Julio Sergio, Juan, De Rossi, Perrotta). Coach: Spalletti.|
|PARMA (4-4-1-1): Bucci – Coly (57’ Pisanu), Falcone, Rossi, Zenoni – Dessena , Morrone, Cigarini, Castellini – Gasbarroni (77’ Reginaldo) – Budan (57’ C.Lucarelli). (bench: Pavarini, Paci, Mariga, Corradi). Coach: Di Carlo.|