MILAN (AFP) – Roma’s title hopes took a further dive on Sunday after they were held to their sixth Serie A draw in seven games, leaving Juventus nine points clear at the top of the table.
Roma’s visit to Verona ended 1-1, despite talismanic captain Francesco Totti giving them a first-half lead with his 240th league goal.
Elsewhere, ailing AC Milan got back to winning ways with a precious 2-0 home win over Cesena, while Lazio climbed up to fourth thanks to Antonio Candreva’s superb second-half winner in a 2-1 home defeat of Palermo.
Massimo Maccarone hit a brace of goals, one in each half, to send Empoli on their way to a 3-0 home win over Chievo, while the Parma v Udinese fixture was postponed as the cash strapped hosts, on the verge of bankruptcy, had no money to pay stadium stewards.
In Sunday’s late game on-loan Chelsea midfielder Mohamed came off the bench to give Fiorentina an 85th minute lead over Torino, only for the visitors to level two minutes later when Giuseppe Vives pounced on a defensive slip-up to fire past Ciprian Tatarusanu from a tight angle.
Champions Juventus had taken their lead over Roma to 10 points on Friday, a 2-1 win over Atalanta giving the Bianconeri a boost ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 meeting with Borussia Dortmund.
It left Roma under the cosh on a difficult trip to Verona’s Bentegodi stadium and although the visitors showed plenty of enterprise, Rudi Garcia’s men are still struggled once more to produce a match-winner.
“We’re creating chances that are going to waste,” Garcia told Sky Sport after the game.
“As well as Ljajic’s efforts on goal, Nainggolan came close in the opening minutes. If we’d put those away, we could have settled the game by the end of the first half.”
Radja Nainggolan and Adem Ljajic both tested home ‘keeper Francesco Benussi in the opening exchanges.
Totti, making his return after a spell out due to ‘flu, looked under par during the opening exchanges.
But the 38-year-old eclipsed his mediocre start with a superbly-struck dipping shot from 30 metres out which beat Benussi at his near post in the 26th minute.
Verona levelled 10 minutes later when Bosko Jankovic rose above makeshift defender Alessandro Florenzi to meet a corner with a header which came off the legs of Seydou Keita before wrong-footing Morgan De Sanctis.