Roma end AC Milan’s five-match winning streak, keep title hopes alive
Refusing to concede the Serie A title, Roma produced a convincing 2-0 win over AC Milan on Friday that will keep Juventus from celebrating for at least another week.
Miralem Pjanic and Gervinho supplied the goals, but Francesco Totti was at his inspirational best as the Giallorossi put the ball back in the court of Juventus, who are in action against Sassuolo on Monday night and will be looking to restore their eight-point advantage with three games of the season to go.
For Milan, defeat came as a setback in their hopes of qualifying for the Europa League next season.
Their deficit on fifth-placed Inter could grow to eight points when the Nerazzurri face Napoli on Saturday night while Parma have the chance to put three points between themselves and the Rossoneri at Cagliari on Sunday.
Roma needed a good quarter of the game before bringing out their vintage football, after Milan had shown why they had won five games in a row coming into the Stadio Olimpico encounter.
Dodo sent Roma’s first shot over before Pjanic burst through from the right only to see his shot deflected wide.
At the other end, Mario Balotelli’s penalty appeal fell on deaf ears when he lost his balance inside the area, but it was only a punctuation in Roma’s masterful possession.
They gained the lead two minutes before half-time with an eye-catching individual goal from Pjanic, architect and finisher combined.
He threw Sulley Muntari a dummy before skipping past the challenges of both Riccardo Montolivo and Adil Rami before side-footing his shot past Christian Abbiati.
Totti, who had been at the centre of all of Roma’s attacks, then set up Pjanic with a training ground free-kick move which the Bosnian struck towards the top right-hand corner with Abbiati forced to stretch to turn the ball behind.
Adem Ljajic then set up Totti, whose shot from an angle was parried by Abbiati with Gervinho on hand to tuck the loose ball in from close range and make it 2-0 for Roma.
Milan coach Clarence Seedorf’s response was to send on Giampaolo Pazzini, removing a perplexed, yet ineffective Balotelli
When Totti and Pjanic were subsequently withdrawn by Roma coach Rudi Garcia, they received standing ovations with smiles adorning their faces after inspiring the Giallorossi to a ninth straight win which keeps their title hopes alive.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.