Scorer, provider - evergreen Totti cheers Romans
ROME - A double strike from Francesco Totti helped push AS Roma into the top four in Serie A on Saturday, proving instrumental in an entertaining 4-2 home win over Fiorentina, who missed the chance to leapfrog Inter Milan into third.
Brazilian defender Leandro Castan gave Roma a seventh-minute lead but it was the sterling efforts of 36-year-old skipper Totti which had the home fans singing his praises as Roma moved onto 29 points, the same tally as Saturday’s opponents as well as city rivals Lazio.
Juventus and Napoli may be setting the title pace but Roma proved they can aspire at least to be in the mix after their ninth win of the campaign while they handed Fiorentina a third loss.
Greek star Panagiotis Tachtsidis did the spadework for the opener in heading on a Totti freekick with Castan only having to walk the ball in.
Totti then provided the fireworks for the “Giallorossi,” who have now netted a league-leading 38 goals in 16 games.
Facundo Roncaglia briefly levelled for the visitors from Florence in beating the offside trap on 14 minutes but five minutes after that Totti pounced following a superb interchange with Mattia Destro and then completed his brace in first half injury time with a shot from 20 metres for his 219th Serie A goal.
Mounir El Hamdaoui put the visitors back in the hunt a minute after the restart, the Moroccan substitute heading in a Borja Valero cross.
But Osvaldo made the points safe on 89 minutes – Totti providing another assist – as Fiorentina went down to their first league loss since the end of September.
Earlier, Atalanta thanked first-half goals from Denis and Peluso to edge out Parma 2-1.
On Sunday, Juve travel to Palermo with Napoli in for a tough test at Inter while AC Milan are away to Torino.
Lazio for their part are at Bologna on Monday.