After conquering Milan at San Siro, Fiorentina took another shock scalp in Rome by knocking the Giallorossi out of the Champions League race.
Both these sides were sorely lacking in confidence, as the Giallorossi were fresh from a 4-0 defeat to Juventus that left them five points adrift of a Champions League spot. The Viola were battling to avoid relegation and couldn’t wait for this season to end, but had not conquered the Olimpico since February 1992.
Luis Enrique was under pressure after dropping Francesco Totti against Juve and the captain was suffering from flu symptoms yesterday, but still played. Maarten Stekelenburg, Bojan Krkic and Erik Lamela were all banned, with Nicolas Burdisso, Juan and Bogdan Lobont injured, so third-choice Gianluca Curci took the gloves. Fiorentina welcomed back Stevan Jovetic from injury, though Juan Manuel Vargas was sidelined and Manuel Pasqual suspended.
It took just 120 seconds for Fiorentina to break the deadlock in front of the stunned Olimpico crowd. Andrea Lazzari crossed from the left for Jovetic, whose looping header beat Curci into the far top corner.
It was almost 2-0 moments later, as Jovetic was allowed to get on the end of a free kick to the back post and could only steer it on to the side-netting at full stretch. The Viola were extremely aggressive early on and their opponents seemed shell-shocked.
Totti drilled a free kick wide and Jovetic ballooned over undisturbed, then ex-Roma man Alessio Cerci sprung the offside trap from the centre-circle to go clear, but fired straight at Curci.
Fiorentina were by far the more dangerous side and Curci got a fingertip to Houssine Kharja’s free kick to prevent Nastasic tapping in undisturbed at the back post. Curci then parried a Jovetic shot and scrambled clear from Cerci’s follow-up.
Marquinho and Fernando Gago replaced Leandro Greco and Jose Angel for the second half. Gago drilled just wide of the near post, but Artur Boruc had it covered anyway.
Pablo Daniel Osvaldo failed to make the most of a Lorenzo De Silvestri error from Rodrigo Taddei’s cross and blasted over the bar from a tight angle.
Jovetic went on a solo run and blasted just wide from distance, but Roma equalised with a sneaky moment from their captain. Gago’s shot was going off target at the near stick, but Totti stuck out a foot to redirect it and totally wrong-foot the goalkeeper.
Osvaldo had a sensational chance, as he burst through the middle and waltzed round Boruc, but went too wide and only hit the side-netting. Roma even gave Ivorian youth team striker Tallo his Serie A debut in a bid to win this match.
Totti’s volley stung Boruc’s gloves in a brilliant save from the Fiorentina goalkeeper. Bad news for the Viola, who lost substitute Amauri to a groin strain in the final minutes.
However, Fiorentina took the lead again in stoppages! They caught the Roma defence on the counter-attack and Curci beat away an Adem Ljajic screamer, but could do nothing on the Andrea Lazzari curled follow-up.
Osvaldo made matters even worse for his teammates by getting himself sent off for dissent, certainly not the first time this season.
Sent off: Osvaldo 93 (R)