di Andrea Rosselli
A defeat against Roma was on the cards, but the 1-2 setback Toro suffered tonight against the Giallorossi came only at the end of a very unlucky performance by the Granata, who stayed in the match until the final whistle being forced to play almost 70 minutes in 10 against 11.
After a balanced start, the episode that changed the match took place in the 23rd minute, when a defensive mistake by the Granata allowed Mancini to shoot all alone from the middle of the box. Abbiati made a fantastic save, but on the rebound the Brazilian forward shot again and Franceschini committed a handball right on the goal line: clear penalty kick and red card for the Toro defender. However, Christian was once again awesome, just like three days ago in Ascoli, and blocked Totti’s 11-metres shot.
Despite being one man down, the Granata fought very hard and defended with a huge determination: Roma obviously dominated the match, but Spalletti’s men needed a very lucky goal in order to take the lead. After 37 minutes, Mancini fired a right-footer from outside the box, the ball was destined to finish wide but was unintentionally deflected by Totti, who was on the trajectory: nothing to do for Abbiati and 1-0 for Roma.
In the second half the Granata kept on giving everything they could and prevented Roma from scoring the second goal with a superb defensive display. On the other hand, Zaccheroni’s men were totally unable to hurt the opponents’ defence and only managed to shoot a couple of times from outside the box with Simone Barone.
Things didn’t change when Muzzi replaced Abbruscato, who surprisingly relieved Stellone in the starting lineup, and after 80 minutes an awesome play by Totti and Montella allowed Mancini to score the 2-0 with an accurate right-footer from inside the box.
The match looked clearly over, but Toro’s big heart was finally rewarded in the 88th minute, when Rosina scored his third straight goal by heading home a cross by Balestri. Unfortunately it was too late and the final assault was useless, but the Granata definitely left the Olimpico pitch head high.