PrintPrint

Totti scores again as Serie A leader Juventus falls to Roma

Associated Press

2/16/2013 5:20:21 PM

MILAN, Italy -- Serie A leader Juventus fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat at struggling Roma as Francesco Totti scored again against the Bianconeri on Saturday.

Totti's splendid strike shortly before the hour mark was the forward's 10th past Juventus goalkeeper and fellow 2006 World Cup winner Gianluigi Buffon.

Roma had been entrenched in its own half for much of the opening period but increased its pressure after the interval.

It was Roma's first league win since December and interim coach Aurelio Andreazzoli's first after kicking off his reign with a 3-1 loss to Sampdoria last weekend.

"I hoped for this, as we don't deserve our current position," Totti said. "The team always tries to give its all for ourselves and the fans. Unfortunately lately we haven't achieved that. Only with great character could we beat a team like Juventus.

"It was normal that at the start we were timid, as we are coming off a very difficult time and Juve are among the best teams in Europe. We held out in the first half, then stepped up. At Roma it is very easy to go over the top after a victory. I think we must keep our feet on the ground, take it one Sunday at a time and see where we end up."

Second-placed Napoli could cut Juventus' lead to two points when it hosts Sampdoria on Sunday.

"I don't like the fact that we had to play three games in seven days," Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. "We could have paid the price for tiredness, an extra day would have helped us as a rest. That's the only excuse, today we didn't play as a team and when you don't play as a team anyone can beat you.

"There's a bit of bitterness because it could have gone better with an extra day's rest. There should be more respect for a club that is taking Italy up high, in Europe as well. How many games has Napoli played in seven days? However, tonight the team took a step backwards in all senses. Tonight, I didn't like any of my players."

Earlier, Palermo drew 1-1 at Chievo Verona to provisionally move off the bottom of the table.

Juventus was without the suspended Claudio Marchisio and Federico Peluso, while Giorgio Chiellini, Paolo De Ceglie and Nicklas Bendtner were injured.

However, it was full of confidence after all but sealing progress to the Champions League quarterfinals with a 3-0 win at Celtic on Tuesday.

Totti was fortunate to escape with just a booking following an awful tackle on former Italy teammate Andrea Pirlo, which left a nasty cut on his knee. There was a worrying few minutes for Juventus fans as Pirlo received treatment on the pitch for several minutes before limping off, but he hobbled back on moments later.

"It isn't like me to do a foul like that," Totti said. "He anticipated me and I was really sorry, but thankfully he was able to continue."

Roma started the second half more positively. Buffon pulled off two good saves to deny Miralem Pjanic and Pablo Osvaldo before Totti broke the deadlock in the 58th, the Roma captain driving an unstoppable 113-kph rocket into the top left corner.

It was Totti's 224th in Serie A, and left him one behind Gunnar Nordahl, who was second in the all-time scoring chart.

Nicolas Anelka went on for Juventus in the 71st for his Serie A debut.

Palermo also has a new coach and Alberto Malesani has begun his reign with two 1-1 draws.

The Sicilian side is the only Serie A team not to have won away from home this season, but it took a surprise lead in the fifth minute.

Chievo defender Francesco Acerbi headed down a long pass from Jasmin Kurtic, but the ball fell straight to Mauro Formica who drilled it into the bottom right corner for his first goal in Italian football since arriving on loan from Blackburn.

Chievo was awarded a penalty nine minutes into the second half, when Nicolas Frey's header hit Santiago Garcia's outstretched arm. Cyril Thereau stepped up to fire past Stefano Sorrentino, who left Chievo for Palermo in acrimonious circumstances at the end of January.

Palermo was one point above Siena, which faces third-placed Lazio on Monday.