Roma 2-1 Napoli: Fantastic Francesco Totti Double Leaves Roberto Donadoni On The Brink
Roma won the big Serie A game of the afternoon with a 2-1 comeback victory over Napoli at the Stadio Olimpico, Francesco Totti scoring twice. This result now leaves Partenopei tactician Roberto Donadoni on the brink of the sack.
The Giallorossi had not been playing well under new coach Claudio Ranieri, but they were still unbeaten domestically under ‘The Tinkerman’ coming into this clash. The home side had injury worries as Cicinho, Julio Baptista, Juan, Philippe Mexes, Jeremy Menez, Doni and Matteo Brighi were all out. Mirko Vucinic and Francesco Totti led the frontline.
Napoli boss Donadoni was under huge pressure with reports that he faced the sack if his side lost in Rome. The Partenopei were minus the sidelined Fabiano Santacroce and Hugo Campagnaro in defence. Ezequiel Lavezzi and Fabio Quagliarella were partner up-front.
Roma started fast and had an unsuccessful penalty appeal within a couple of minutes as Vucinic went down under pressure from Leandro Rinaudo.
A minute later Simone Perrotta was slipped clean through on goal by an inspired Totti pass, but Morgan De Sanctis saved superbly.
A majestic Totti backheel then teed up John Arne Riise, who lashed just wide.
Roma had begun excellently but they received a blow on nine minutes as Marco Motta limped off injured and was replaced by Marco Cassetti.
Napoli improved a touch, and at least managed to break up the game more. Midway through the half, Ranieri had to make a second enforced change as goalkeeper Julio Sergio injured his right thigh. Romanian deputy Bogdan Lobont took his place.
The first thing Lobont had to do was pick the ball out of his own net. Marek Hamsik cut the ball to Lavezzi, who swivelled and fired low into the net.
Napoli’s confidence was boosted and Jesus Datolo unleashed a missile from range that swerved just wide.
Indeed the away side could have doubled their lead on 36 minutes as Lavezzi released Christian Maggio and he shot just wide.
This miss would prove costly as within 30 seconds Roma were level. Vucinic roasted Paolo Cannavaro down the left, and his ball across the box was touched on by Perrotta and eventually found its way into the net, somewhat fortuitously, off Totti‘s thigh.
At half time Ranieri used up his final change as Ricardo Faty came on for Alessio Cerci.
Napoli had the first effort of the second half as Hamsik lashed over.
But it was Roma who created the next golden opportunity as Vucinic slipped in Totti, who was denied by a fantastic De Sanctis stop.
Totti did get his second goal of the game, though, on 62 minutes as Roma turned the game around. Er Pupone picked the ball up 25 yards out and rifled an unstoppable low shot into the bottom corner.
Napoli went for broke, bringing on forward Jimmy Hoffer for defender Cannavaro.
Perrotta and Faty threatened a third, while Totti required long treatment for a knee problem and returned with heavy bandaging.
With ten minutes remaining, Napoli missed a great chance to get back on level terms as Hoffer headed wide from six yards from Datolo’s cross.
But, Roma held on for the three points. This win means that Roma continue their recovery up the table, while Napoli’s miseries persist and Donadoni faces a nervous wait to see if he will still have a job after the international break.