Francesco Totti finally got his first Serie A goals of the season by converting two penalties as Roma saw off Chievo’s challenge.
The Giallorossi finally seemed to turn a corner in the weeks leading up to Christmas, notching up two consecutive victories. However, over the break they lost Pablo Daniel Osvaldo for two months with a thigh strain, joining Nicolas Andre Burdisso, Aleandro Rosi, Fabio Borini and Marco Cassetti on the treatment table, and loaned Marco Borriello to Juventus. Bojan Krkic therefore returned to the starting XI and Fabio Simplicio was preferred to Fernando Gago. Chievo’s last win at the Olimpico was in January 2003, but they adopted a trident with Cyril Thereau behind Sergio Pellissier and Alberto Paloschi.
After just four minutes an Erik Lamela solo effort was fingertipped round the base of the near post, then from the resulting corner Stefano Sorrentino flew to palm a stunning Miralem Pjanic curler out of the far top corner.
Pjanic was furious at teammate Bojan, who tried to go for glory himself when he should’ve rolled across for the totally unmarked ex-Lyon man. At the other end, Luciano threaded through for Thereau to test Maarten Stekelenburg. Paloschi then just failed to tap in Thereau’s knockdown from point-blank range.
The referee awarded a Roma penalty when Nicolas Frey clumsily tackled Lamela at the by-line. Francesco Totti has been disappointing from penalties recently, but got his first Serie A goal of the season by firing into the near top corner, leaving Sorrentino rooted to the spot. The captain showed a T-Shirt that read: ‘Sorry I was late.’
A right-foot Hetemaj screamer flashed inches across the face of the Roma goal, while Sorrentino smothered Bojan’s effort at the near post.
Stekelenburg had to use all of his 1.96m height to fingertip a looping Sergio Pellissier header out from under the bar.
Roma were denied a clear penalty just three minutes after the restart, as Bostjan Cesar stood on Bojan’s ankle at the touchline, but the referee waved play on.
Pellissier was at full stretch to volley Luciano’s cross off target and another clumsy Cesar tackle from behind on Bojan was waved away in the box.
Davide Moscardelli should’ve scored against his hometown club just moments after coming off the bench, but inexplicably got the ball trapped under his feet and couldn’t get the shot away from eight yards.
The referee finally awarded a penalty as Cesar went sliding in and punched the ball off Bojan’s foot as the Spaniard was trying to dribble round. Totti took the spot-kick again and Sorrentino got a hand to it, but the power took the ball into the corner.