Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Robert Hay On May - 6 - 2013

Late Roma Goal Sinks Fiorentina

A late Pablo Osvaldo goal finally settled a back-and-forth match and gave Roma a critical three points in the race for Serie A’s final Champions League spot. Fiorentina remains one point behind Milan going into Sunday but i Lupi are themselves four points out of a Champions League place, depending on Sunday’s results. The home team felt aggrieved after the match as an uncalled penalty and numerous prime opportunities to break the scoreless draw in regulation were wasted.

The game’s only goal came late in stoppage time off a corner. Osvaldo overall had a lackluster game so the fact that he scored the game’s only goal was a brief bit of redemption for the Argentine. Coming on a last flurry by Roma, the corner was placed perfectly into the box and Osvaldo beat his defender and timed his jump perfectly. Interestingly this goal was foreshadowed in the 20th minute as pass into the box found the head of a poorly marked Alessandro Florenzi, but his header went high. The usual stout Viola defense had problems marking Roma’s physical attackers, a problem that again showed itself on the penultimate goal.

The match was played at a near frenetic pace at times as both teams knew three points could help their individual team goals. Fiorentina came out in their usual fluid 4-3-3 that transitions to a 3-5-2 on the attack while Roma countered with a 4-4-2. Possession switched back and forth as both teams surged forward trying to grab that first goal while the defenses were stout. Roma started Bogdan Lobont in goal but a collision on a free kick in the 30th minute shook up Lobont and led to Mauro Goicoechea subbing in at the beginning of the second half. This injury and substitution presented a prime opportunity for the Viola, 20 minutes of a woozy keeper then ten of a cold one of the bench. However, they could not take advantage of the situation.

Since neither team could grab control of the game’s momentum in the first half, both teams had quality chances early on. For Roma, a counter in the 27th minute led to Francisco Totti finding Osvaldo just outside the box. The Argentine put a move on the Roma defense to create space but instead of finding Totti for a return pass and better opportunity, he put a shot with movement on goal that was controlled by Emiliano Viviano.

For the home team, as the first half progressed they began to slowly assert more control that really manifested itself in the second half. The Viola midfield began winning more individual battles and created better chances. An opportunity for a late first half lead looked definite in the 37th minute as Stevan Jovetic took a pass from Alberto Aquilani on the edge of the box and unleashed a shot that beat Lobont but hit the post and went out. The second half continued with Fiorentina firmly gaining control of possession and momentum, as the lauded Viola midfield trio skillfully picked apart their capital counterparts. The shots continued (23 total for Fiorentina) and the Uruguayan Goicoechea was called into action a number of times. Controversy erupted in the 76th minute as a Pizzarro cross into the area deflected off Daniele De Rossi’s shoulder and out. Replays and Fiorentina players correctly pointed out that the ball struck De Rossi’s upper arm as he flapped it out in the box, but a penalty was not awarded. The Viola had a chance to negate the no-call in the 90th minute as a Pizzaro strike from distance struck the post again and bounced out.

In the end, Roma won because they took advantage of an opportunity given to them. The home team had chances to win but too often settled for long shots and failed to convert those that Roma presented to them. It looks like this result could lock both teams into play in the same European tournament next year, but it is not the one Fiorentina had hoped.

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