Palermo 3-3 Roma: Francesco Totti Rescues The Giallorossi With Late Penalty
An 88th minute penalty from Francesco Totti helped AS Roma salvage a point at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.
Palermo started with strikers Igor Budan and Fabrizio Miccoli leading the attack line. The visitors were in search of their third Serie A win in a row and had all their top guns – Daniele De Rossi, Francesco Totti and Mirko Vucinic – in the lineup.
Despite the torrential conditions, the match started brilliantly with end-to-end action right from the beginning. However, it was not until the sixth minute of the game that there was a hint of a goal as Roma star De Rossi unleashed an ambitious long-range effort typical of him. But it was off target.
A minute later, Rodrigo Taddei threaded in a lovely ball to Totti but the Roma captain was a fraction too late to latch onto what was a truly exquisite pass.
Totti then had two quick chances in the next couple of minutes. First, he tried his luck from the edge of the Palermo penalty area but hit his shot straight at goalkeeper Rubinho. Then the World Cup winner skipped past two Palermo defenders and hit a left-footed shot that went just wide.
The Sicilians, though, did try and launch attacks of their own as defender Federico Balzaretti whipped in a cross into the Roma penalty area but it was cleared by John Arne Riise as Fabio Simplicio couldn’t put his head onto it.
The match lost some intensity after that but it picked up momentum again in the 20th minute when Roma took the lead through Matteo Brighi. Riise’s initial shot on goal was blocked but the former Liverpool defender picked up the rebound and played Totti through. The Roma captain flicked the ball onto Brighi, who made no mistake in getting the Roman’s first goal of the match.
The visitors could have doubled their lead almost immediately as Riise went close with a free-kick from 30 yards that Rubinho kept out of his net.
But Palermo could have restored parity and could have even taken the lead just moments later. First Fabrizio Miccoli fed Simplicio through but the Brazilian could not keep his shot on target. Then in the 27th minute Simplicio put Miccoli through but the latter was flagged offside.
Palermo had two or three decent chances after that to equalise but couldn’t. Walter Zenga’s side eventually did make it 1-1 and the goal came from Igor Budan in the 40th minute. Simplicio and Miccoli again combined with each other and the Italian striker unleashed shot that was somehow cleared off the line by Nicolas Burdisso. But the Argentine could not clear the ball properly and it fell to Budan just two yards away from goal and the Palermo player made no mistake.
The hosts’ joy, however, was short-lived as Burdisso scored in the 45th minute to make it 2-1 for Roma. A David Pizarro corner was smartly headed home by the Argentine for his first goal in Giallorossi colours.
Incredibly Palermo replied instantly when Miccoli hoodwinked three Roma defenders and found the net from an extremely acute angle to make it 2-2 at half-time.
The second-period started with pretty much the same the intensity as the first-half had ended as both sides went close in the first five minutes.
Then in the 52nd minute, Mirko Vucinic went on an amazing run past Dorin Goian and Balzaretti but he was eventually dispossessed by Giulio Migliaccio.
But it was hosts Palermo who grabbed the fifth goal of the match when Antonio Nocerino scored in the 56th minute. Miccoli’s effort on goal was hit straight at Julio Sergio and the deflection fell kindly for Nocerino who blasted the ball home.
Roma, though, didn’t buckle and carried on mounting pressure on their Sicilian opponents in search of an equaliser and possibly more. But they failed to rip apart a sturdy Palermo backline.
The Giallorossi could have restored parity in the 69th minute when Vucinic tried his luck but he could not take his shot well.
The gifted Roma striker again came close in the 77th minute when he unleashed a ferocious drive but Palermo custodian Rubinho pulled off a brilliant save.
Four minutes later, Riise tried to equalise through a free-kick as he hit his shot low and hard, but it was deflected for a corner.
Roma eventually made it 3-3 in the final minutes of the match and their equaliser came from talismanic captain Francesco Totti. Second-half substitute Okaka Chuka was fouled by Rubinho inside the Palermo penalty area and Totti converted the resulting spot-kick.
Roma could have even scored the winner three minutes into injury time when Vucinic tested Rubinho from 30 yards but the Montenegrin’s shot was well saved by the Palermo goalkeeper. It finished 3-3 in the end.