Roma roar into second

Claudio Ranieri's side get 17th win from last 20 games to stay hot on heels of Inter.

    Job done: Riise turns away after his strike [AFP]
    Unstoppable Roma roared back up to second in the Italian Serie A after a 4-1 home success against Palermo extended their unbeaten run to 20 games.

    Claudio Ranieri's team have now won 17 and drawn three of their last 20 matches in all competitions and show no signs of letting up in the race against Inter and AC Milan at the top.

    Brighi scored a brace while Brazilian substitute Julio Baptista and Norway left-back John Arne Riise added the others with Fabrizio Miccoli scoring a late consolation for the Sicilians from the spot.

    But this victory, much like Roma's 1-0 win away to Fiorentina last week, owed as much to early resilience as later brilliance.

    In Florence Roma had been outplayed for almost the entire game before picking their hosts' pockets with a late winner.

    And here in the capital they were second best throughout the first half on Saturday but still turned around with a 1-0 lead at the interval.

    Clinical

    Fifth placed Palermo had much to play for knowing they could move into the European Champions League places with a win but they could not match Roma's clinical finishing.

    There was a touch of fortune about their opener on 33 minutes as Francesco Totti's corner found Brighi just inside the area and his volley looked like it might drift wide but Cesare Bovo got his head on it and diverted the ball past his goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday February 13

     Roma 4-1 Palermo
     Sampdoria v Fiorentina

    Sunday February 14

     Cagliari v Bari
     Catania v Atalanta
     Chievo v Siena
     Juventus v Genoa
     Livorno v Bologna
     Parma v Lazio
     Napoli v Inter Milan 

    Palermo came roaring back and Fabio Liverani's cross to the back post found Edison Cavani whose volley from a tight angle was kicked away by Julio Sergio.

    Moments later the Brazilian stopper tipped another shot from the  Uruguayan forward away at full stretch.

    Miccoli then curled a free-kick just past the near post with the  unsighted Sergio a static spectator.

    Palermo came out for the second period fired up but soon fell further behind when Brighi teed up Baptista, who had replaced Totti at the break.

    And just after the hour mark Brighi surprised Sirigu from distance to make it 3-0.

    Ten minutes from time Palermo got on the scoresheet from a controversial penalty as Rodrigo Taddei was penalised for a foul on Javier Pastore that appeared suspiciously outside the box.

    But then just three minutes later Riise settled any doubts as he met David Pizarro's cross at the far post and thrashed a shot into the roof of the net to move Roma within six points of leaders Inter ahead of their match against Napoli on Sunday.

    SOURCE: AFP


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