Monday November 4 2013
The Fall of Rome

Relentless Roma dropped their first points of the season at the 11th time of asking. Giancarlo Rinaldi analyses that clash with Torino and all the rest of the Serie A action.

The look in his eyes suggested he was not being entirely truthful. Alessio Cerci insisted he had no special motivation to do well just because he was facing Roma. But, if anyone in the current Torino side was going to end the Giallorossi’s 100 per cent record, it had to be him.

This is a boy who came through the youth ranks with the capital club and made his Serie A debut for them as a teenager under Fabio Capello. Great things were forecast of a player dubbed the Thierry Henry of Valmontone due to his pace and ability to beat an opponent. However, a string of loan spells and a handful of first team appearances meant he quit Rome for good in 2010. You couldn’t blame him for feeling a little bit of pride at being the man to finally clip the wings of the side which could never quite muster sufficient faith in his ability.

“One on one he was always good,” said former teammate from those Roma days, Christian Panucci. “But now he has matured. He has changed his mental approach and that was what he needed.”

It took every trick in his book to grab a point from the League leaders. Rudi Garcia’s side had taken the lead through the increasingly impressive Kevin Strootman, but the Granata showed great spirit to draw level. They then had to hold on for dear life as the Giallorossi threw everything at them to try to retain their perfect record.

“We played the whole game to win,” said Garcia. “After they made it 1-1 we attacked right to the end and I liked that. We can’t win all the time, but a draw away from home is never a negative result.”

He was quite right to point out that fact as Roma’s record remains breathtaking. They also have a good chance to extend their lead over at least one of their main challengers next weekend as Juventus and Napoli go head to head. The Giallorossi face what looks like a more straightforward task against Sassuolo.

The Bianconeri had kept up the pressure at the top on Saturday evening with a hard-earned victory at Parma. It was almost another Fabio Quagliarella wonder-goal which decided the game but when his shot caromed off the crossbar, Paul Pogba was quickest to react to score the match’s only goal. With Real Madrid on the horizon, it was a perfect tonic.

There was a victorious warm-up for the Champions League for Napoli too. Two thunderous strikes from Jose Callejon and Marek Hamsik were just enough to see off Catania. The visitors at least showed some sign of life by pulling one goal back, but they remain rooted at the bottom end of the table.

But the third Italian representative in Europe’s elite competition suffered a much more miserable Saturday night. A lacklustre Milan were downed by Fiorentina thanks to goals from Juan Vargas and Borja Valero. It was the third consecutive year the Viola have won this fixture at the San Siro, it also ensured the Rossoneri have endured their worst start to a season since 1981. For those who know their history, that campaign ended with them heading to Serie B.

Adriano Galliani stomped off before the game had ended and the home fans jeered their disapproval of what they had witnessed. Max Allegri said it was the worst spell he had known during his time in charge of the club. There is the feeling that the upcoming games with Barcelona and Chievo might have a big say in whether he gets much more time to turn things around. Those celebrations for snatching third place and a Champions League spot seem no more than a distant memory.

The defeat also prompted a despairing daughter to father phone call, apparently, from Barbara to Silvio Berlusconi. She insisted that did not mean the end of the road for Galliani, just a desire to change direction in the way they run the club. It might not mean spending any more money on players, simply making sure it gets spent more wisely.

The good times seem a long way off in the blue and white half of Rome as well. Vlad Petkovic is another boss under pressure after Genoa came and pinched all three points at the Olimpico. The team play which previously raised their performances above the individual abilities of their squad members seems to have deserted them for now.

There are no such problems for Verona and Inter who thundered into the Europa League spots again. For the Nerazzurri, the poorest Udinese side of recent years were not much of an obstacle and were swept aside easily enough. As for Andrea Mandorlini’s men, they had just too much will to win for visiting Cagliari. Those expecting Hellas to run out of gas will have to wait for at least another week.

The most breathless battle of the week was produced at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris where Sassuolo grabbed a first away win of the season in spectacular style. Domenico Berardi – a player co-owned by Juventus – was the hero with a hat-trick in a 4-3 triumph. It was a particularly tempestuous game for Samp’s Lorenzo De Silvestri who scored a late equaliser before conceding the penalty which decided the match.

Livorno also made important progress up the table by seeing off Atalanta thanks to a Paulinho strike. It was a result which heaps more pressure on Bologna and Chievo who clash on Monday night. Defeat for Stefano Pioli’s men would give the relegation fight a wide-open look, but a loss for the Veronese would make them look Serie B-bound already.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
The Fall of Rome.

Are you serious about the headline?
Roma still undefeated.
And im glad Roma stumbled upon Torino, instead of... naaah, you-know-who.

Forza Roma.
on the 7th November, 2013 at 3:21pm
Pjanic is going to be the best player in Serie A over the next few years, his touches and his vision are incredible. Roma's midfield is fearsome and their defence is very strong too. They should have won against Torino they got some very bad decisions against them. Still not sure they can sustain a title challenge in the long run but they look a good bet for top 3.
on the 5th November, 2013 at 11:37pm
I personally think Benatia went down too easily prior to Cerci's goal. But I'm going to forgive him seeing that he has been splendid so far.
on the 5th November, 2013 at 3:02pm
The referee from Torino/Roma game in restaurant after the game having dinner with Torino coach Ventura.

Dubious calls and non calls in the game rewarded with a fine dinner...

Calciopoli will never be gone.
on the 5th November, 2013 at 2:54pm
blimey!!! Giancarlo, are you mad? one draw and all of a sudden they are under the microscope? I am not even a Roma fan but they must be applauded for what they have achieved to date. Its a very impressive run - and - the most important thing is that they have played great football along the way. Their counter attacking play against Inter was nothing short of sublime. Give credit where credit is due.
on the 5th November, 2013 at 1:37pm
Mustafa you know nothing of being a Romanista. To all the others who are on the Roma bandwagon, get off of it now. We won 11 in a row once and ended up in 5th. Romanista may dream but we are practical. One scudetto in Rome is worth a 1000 in the North.
on the 5th November, 2013 at 4:49am
Yeah, Turin are controlling all that's happening in Rome, but couldn't get themselves the 3rd star, or make the Super Coppa played in a neutral venue; and now some ASR fan crying about a penalty not given, forgetting those many PK's they got until week 10. Seems 'Roma' and it's 'fans' deserve each other perfectly, people with inferiority complex supporting a small club.
on the 5th November, 2013 at 3:57am
If someone told me before the season started that Roma would go on to win ten in a row then draw... I'd have called them a mad man. Why can't people just enjoy Roma for what it is instead of adding some sensationalist head line like that.

Honestly can't say I expected better but I'm ecstatic that we are doing so well. Well deserved after all that's happened in recent years. Hopefully teams will want to play some football instead of sitting back with 11 and hoping for the best.

Forza Roma :)
on the 5th November, 2013 at 1:14am
@ Mustaaafaaaaa, Hardly, lets dissect,Chievo, +3 on the most ridiculous offside call in European soccer of the last ten years. Torino,+2, magically the ref failed to spot Tevez hugging the post. No jealousy just facts, and goodness I pity you poor souls supporting a club that cheated a majority of your championships. Let me guess, Muntari's goal didnt cross the line? Lol. One more thing my middle eastern friend, my blood runs one colour, never changes.
on the 5th November, 2013 at 12:28am
@ Anonymous

Oh my God ! Is that really right ?? Oh wait, it's just a sore jealous pathetic ignoramus who will switch teams when Roma lose the top spot. I'm right, ain't I ?
on the 4th November, 2013 at 7:17pm
giancarlo rinaldi, why would you title this 'the fall of rome'?! last i remember, roma has been in credible form, a record breaking run. 10 wins and only 2 goals given up. how is that a 'fall'? they are still in first place, and still haven't lost. that is fine if you support another team, but be fair when you write, there are many different team supporters that come to to read up on serie a football. if you want to write about a 'fallen' team, then write about milan!!! stupid
on the 4th November, 2013 at 6:52pm
The non call on Pjanic being taken down in the box is laughable. Serie A refs are horrible week in week out.
on the 4th November, 2013 at 5:44pm
Sorry but it's hardly the "fall of Rome". Still undefeated and top by 3 points. Last night was a good point away from home considering we are still missing big influential players. The lead could be extended next week again with Juve vs Napoli and Roma at home to Sassuolo. Onwards and upwards! Lazio hahahahaha FORZA ROMA!
on the 4th November, 2013 at 5:12pm
Title this the "the rise of Turin" , because once again, "Turin" magical striped 12th man has come to give points to them or to take points away in their benefit. Pjanic's penalty was more plain than tevez's dive vs fiorentina. Just oddly the ref decided it was time to help out.
on the 4th November, 2013 at 12:55pm
A good weekend in general apart from Milan who continue to struggle. I think the problem lies with Milans players not Allegri. You can't make a strong house with crap cement. There is little industry and magic about this Milan team and I can't see getting rid of Allegri helping their cause.

on the 4th November, 2013 at 12:51pm

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