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Within thirty six minutes, Roma were two goals up against Parma, and fans were beginning to worry. After all, how many times have tifosi seen the side take a lead, only to lose it later on? How often now have Roma conceded goals late in games? Far too often, and Vincenzo Montella’s dream debut was halted merely two games into it, as Parma clawed their way back into the game for a point. Roma can take small solace in the fact that they have actually moved closer to fourth place, due to most rivals losing, but this was most assuredly two points dropped rather than one point gained.

Not all is dour for the capital side, however. Francesco Totti continued a fine mid-season renaissance to give his team the lead, sinking a penalty in the nineteenth. The rigore was questionable at best; it was awarded to Taddei after he collided with Parma defender Alessandro Lucarelli, but the Roma wide man was at least as culpable as he seemed to run into the player. Nevertheless, Totti made little work of the penalty as he moved a mere eight away from reaching the astounding two hundred Serie A goals mark, on his six hundredth appearance for his hometown side.

Juan soon doubled the lead off of a corner, capitalizing on poor defending. Daniele De Rossi’s header was saved by goalkeeper Antonio Mirante, but no one was marking the Brazilian centerback who was left with an easy tap-in. Shortly after, however, it all began to go downhill for Roma. Davide Pizarro, back in the side under Montella, fell awkwardly over a clumsy challenge and was stretchered off in first half stoppages. Initially it was feared that he may have re-aggravated a leg injury that had kept him off the pitch for so long this season, but scans after the match revealed that there was no serious damage and that he should return for Roma’s return leg against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions’ League next Tuesday. Fabio Simplicio was sent on to replace the midfield maestro, as Roma went into the half two goals up but one Chilean down.

Totti nearly added a third after a fantastic dribble which saw him take on three Parma players before unleashing a curling shot that Miranta just managed to save. Soon after, Parma clawed their way back into the game from Amauri. The Brazilian-Italian has been in awful form for nearly a year, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that he would score one of the best goals of his career against Roma. Capitalizing on the capital side’s lack of any pretense of luck, the former Juventino performed a back-heel flick mid-air to send a cross beyond Doni and into the net. The entire Roma backline stared on in disbelief, reflecting the feeling that all of Serie A surely experienced at that moment, none moreso than Juventus tifosi.

To add insult to injury, Amauri added a second five minutes later. He was able to prod in a loose ball from eight yards as the home side snatched a point from a match that should have been settled long before then. In all fairness to Parma, however, it all seemed rather inevitable, given that Roma had taken a lead. Both sides had chances to claim a third goal; the away side had strong appeals for another penalty turned away after Marco Pisano seemed to handle a ball in the box. The home side, down to ten after Massimo Paci’s second yellow a minute after Amauri’s second goal, nearly humiliated Roma when a last minute lob from Antonio Candreva missed Doni’s net by mere inches. The game finished as a draw, both sides perhaps doing just enough to merit a point each.

Given that Juventus, Palermo, and Lazio all lost over the weekend, Roma could take solace in the fact that the point puts them one step closer to fourth. However, a resurgent Udinese side will look to take the final qualifying position as their own, and a failure to take all three points could hugely harm i lupi as the season progresses to the wire. An away trip to Lecce follows this weekend before Roma seek to do the impossible next week: defeat Shakhtar at home by a two goal margin. I giallorossi are thus locked in battles for two seasons of Champions’ League football, and Vincenzo Montella has much work to do to ensure that Roma do not find themselves out of the competition for both this year and the next by the Derby Della Capitale in twelve days’ time.

Julian De Martinis

Calcio, Azzurri, and Roma tifosi. Blogger, correspondent, podcast host (@LaMagicast). Lover of books, movies, wordplay, family, and a good cappuccino.

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