Sunday September 11 2016
Spalletti: 'Roma victory deserved'

Luciano Spalletti insists the last-gasp penalty and Roma victory against Sampdoria were “deserved” and praised Francesco Totti.

The Giallorossi were 2-1 down at half-time when a hailstorm interrupted play for 80 minutes, but Totti came off the bench to set up an Edin Dzeko equaliser and then convert a penalty with the last kick of the game.

“Anyone who says that was not a penalty is just trying to be contrary,” Spalletti told Mediaset Premium and Sky Sport Italia.

“Dzeko is knocked down with a strike on the leg, it’s a clear penalty! He sweeps the leg. Contact is when someone lets himself fall, but here Dzeko’s leg was moved 20cm.

“Dzeko never dives and always tries to remain on his feet, for example as he did in Bergamo.

“We played 25 minutes as Roma, then in the last 20 Sampdoria poured forward and we quite rightly went behind, showing a lack of character,” continued Spalletti.

“After the break we played well, so we had 70 strong minutes to their 20. It’s a shame for Sampdoria, but Roma deserved the victory.

“Emiliano Viviano somehow managed to stop us scoring earlier, because he seemed like Lev Yashin out there.”

Totti decided the match when coming off the bench just days before his 40th birthday.

“I’d love to have four or five Tottis. He does these moments of magic constantly and unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to use him earlier this season.

“Against Porto we went down to 10 men, nine in the second leg, and it becomes difficult to use him then. He was injured against Cagliari. I probably could’ve used him against Udinese, but my intentions are clear.

“I have never seen Totti train with such enthusiasm. I hope he continues like this.”

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