Serie A - Totti double denies Fiorentina

Sun, 20 Mar 14:04:00 2011

Fiorentina and Roma each took a share of the spoils in an enthralling Serie A encounter that ended 2-2 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

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Twice the home side led courtesy of goals from Adrian Mutu and Alessandro Gamberini but twice they were pegged back as Francesco Totti proved to be the hero for Roma once again.

Having struck twice to clinch victory in the Rome derby last weekend, Totti was at it again with two more to steal a point for his side in a match that Fiorentina dominated for large periods.

The draw sees both teams extend respective unbeaten league records to five games as they each look to secure places in European competition next season.

Fiorentina flew out of the blocks, making a very positive start and had a sluggish looking Roma side pinned back from the first whistle.

Valon Behrami looked particularly inspired during the opening exchanges and his determined run into the Roma box and pinpoint cross produced an opening for Alberto Gilardino that he headed over.

With both sides looking to extend four game unbeaten league records, it was the home side who took the first significant step towards achieving the feat as they deservedly broke the deadlock on 21 minutes.

Mutu rolled back the years with a wonderful individual striker's goal, making a mockery of the Roma defence in the process, first beating Phillipe Mexes with a neat turn, then drifting effortlessly past a sluggish Juan before drilling the ball past Doni who really should have done better.

That goal was no more than the home side deserved after such a dominant display in the opening exchanges and they should have doubled their advantage moments later when Gilardino volleyed over from 12 yards with only Doni to beat.

But their hard-earned lead was not to last long as Roma were gifted the chance to draw level from the penalty spot after Gianluca Comotto sent John Arne Riise tumbling over in the penalty area.

Absent from proceedings until this moment, Totti stepped up confidently and announced his presence by lashing home the spot kick for his 200th Serie A goal.

Having been pegged back, Fiorentina showed no signs of wallowing in self pity as they eagerly set about re-establishing the lead.

And when they succeeded in doing so, the goal came from an unlikely source in the form of centre back Gamberini who had failed to register on any scoresheet in three years as a Viola player.

There was no sign of such suggested impotence however when Gamberini drifted in at the far post to instinctively divert the ball goalwards on the half volley from a corner kick.

There was time yet for Mutu to rattle the woodwork with a powerful header as Fiorentina ended a pulsating first half in the same overwhelmingly positive manner they started it.

And there was to be no let up from the impressive home side once play had been resumed with Juan Vargas cruelly denied by the crossbar this time following a stunning left foot volley.

But it would seem that you can never keep this great man down as Totti succeeded in dragging his side back into contention with his second goal of the game to frustrate Fiorentina once more.

When Riise’s cross was not cleared, the lurking Totti was foolishly given the time and space to take a touch and pick out the far corner with a measured but emphatic strike back across goal.

After such a frantic hour of football it was perhaps inevitable when proceedings dipped into something of a lull as both sides set about avoiding defeat rather than snatching victory.

Totti did his best with a series of long range efforts but both his and the collective efforts of the men in purple proved to be in vain as each side left with a hard fought point.

Thomas Hyde / Eurosport

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