MX23RW : Sunday, July 22 04:48:52
Dec 8, 2013 at 11.30am UK at ​Stadio Olimpico
Maicon (7'), Destro (66')
Pjanic (23'), De Sanctis (60'), Destro (68'), Castan (69')
Pjanic (87')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Vargas (29')
Ambrosini (15'), Rodriguez (16'), Neto (63'), Cuadrado (93')

Live Commentary: Roma 2-1 Fiorentina - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's text coverage of the Serie A clash between Roma and Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico.

Roma maintained their unbeaten start to the season and returned to winning ways courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina this afternoon.

Maicon opened the scoring for the hosts early on before Juan Manuel Vargas blasted his side level just before the half-hour mark.

Mattia Destra netted the winner shortly after coming on as a sub, but he was then subbed off again later in the game, being sacrificed after Miralem Pjanic was sent off for two yellow cards.

You can read how a thoroughly entertaining game unfolded with Sports Mole's live play-by-play coverage below.

11amGood morning! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's huge Serie A clash between high-flying Roma and Champions League-chasing Fiorentina. It promises to be a very interesting encounter at the Stadio Olimpico, so let's waste no time in having a look at it.

11.02amWe'll start by looking at our hosts Roma, who have been brought back down to earth with something of a bump in the last month or so. They made an unprecedented start to the Serie A season, winning 10 out of 10 to start the season in record-breaking fashion. What's more, they only conceded one goal in that phenomenal spell.

11.04amHowever, they have not exactly swept all before them in their last four games. Torino were the first side to take points off Rudi Garcia's team this season with a 1-1 draw at the start of November, while Sassuolo, Cagliari and Atalanta have all followed in their footsteps to earn draws against Roma.

11.06amThat form will be particularly hard to take given the fact that all four of those teams were ones that Roma would have expected to beat. During that fabulous start to the season they beat the likes of Lazio, Inter, Napoli and Udinese, but eight points dropped against sides they should have beaten is a worry for Rudi Garcia.

11.08amTheir recent run has seen them lose their spot at the top of the table, a position that has been taken over by a rampant Juventus side. Juve are enjoying a similar run of form to the one that Roma began the season with and now sit six points clear at the top, a gap that could be cut to three if Roma can end their drawing streak with a win today.

11.10amIt is by no means all doom and gloom in Rome, though. They remain unbeaten this season, one of only two teams in Europe's top five leagues to boast that achievement (the other being Bayern Munich). They also have by far the best defensive record in the division having conceded just four goals in their opening 14 games. They have not yet conceded more than once in a match, and three of those four goals have come in their last four games. Stretching back to last season, they are unbeaten in their last 16 Serie A matches, with the last defeat coming at the hands of Chievo back in May.

11.12amThey have been solid at one end, and scoring goals at the other end hasn't been a problem either. Only four teams in the division have scored more than their 27 this season, while they have the best goal difference in the league with +23. They have struggled to find the net a little more in recent weeks, however, netting just five times in their last six games. They haven't scored more than once in a match since mid-October.

11.14amAt home they have been very impressive, winning five and drawing two of their matches in front of their own fans this season. Even more impressively, they have conceded just one goal in that time, whilst scoring 14.

11.16amAs for Fiorentina, they have high hopes of finishing the season in a Champions League place, and they are in a good position to challenge for that goal. A win today would see them move into fourth and put them just two points behind Napoli in third after Rafael Benitez's men dropped points with a 3-3 draw against Udinese yesterday. Inter do play later today, however, so if Fiorentina do leapfrog them in the table it is likely to only be for a few hours or so.

11.18amThey come into this match in good form having lost just one of their last six matches in all competitions and just two of their last nine in the league. That puts them second in the form table behind only Juventus, who look unstoppable at the moment. They are currently seven points behind Roma, which is a substantial gap but not too bad considering their opponents today took maximum points from their opening 10 games of the season.

11.20amTheir strength lies in their attacking prowess - only three teams have scored more than Fiorentina's 28 goals this season, and two of those have played a game more than the Viola. The main reason behind their goalscoring feats is undoubtedly Giuseppe Rossi, who has returned from what could have been a career-ending knee injury to top the Serie A goal charts with 12 from 14 games.

11.22amOn the other hand, their defensive record leaves a lot to be desired, and solving that problem could be the key to them reaching the Champions League. They have shipped more goals than any other side in the top five, with their 18 goals conceded being the same amount let in by 17th-placed Chievo.

11.24amHowever, they will certainly be buoyed by their good form away from home. Vincenzo Montella's side have lost just once in their last seven away games in all competitions, and in their last 11 games on their travels in the league they have won eight, drawn one and lost just two. Today will be a special day for Montella, who scored 83 goals in 194 appearances as a player for Roma, as well as briefly taking over as caretaker boss of the club in 2011. He could well have a point to prove after not being given the job full time.

11.25amPREDICTION: We're five minutes from kickoff in Rome, so it is about time I made my prediction! This is a tough one to call given Roma's recent slump in form and Fiorentina's dangerous attacking threat. I don't really see the visitors winning this one, so Roma's unbeaten record should remain intact, but I think it could be five straight draws for the hosts. I'll go for 1-1.

11.26amROMA STARTING XI: De Sanctis; Maicon, Benatia, Castan, Dodò; Pjanic, De Rossi, Strootman; Florenzi, Ljajic, Gervinho

11.27amFIORENTINA STARTING XI: Neto; Rodriguez, Pasqual, Tomovic, Savic; Ambrosini, Aquilani, Valero, Vargas; Cuadrado, Rossi

11.29amIt is worth noting that Roma won all three meetings between these two sides last season, beating Fiorentina twice in the league and knocking them out of the cup. They have also won four of the last six games against the Viola, and have scored three or more goals against today's opponents in four of the last six at the Stadio Olimpico.

11.30amAdam Ljajic will be keen to prove himself today as he lines up against his former club, who he left this summer. Roma are also boosted by the return of Francesco Totti to the club's bench.

11.32amOur referee today is Daniele Orsato, who has shown five red cards in his last four matches. This is likely to be a match played at full throttle, so we could well see another one today.

1 minKICKOFF: Fiorentina get us underway in Rome as they look the become the first side to claim the scalp of Roma this season, having previously becoming the first and so far only team to beat Juventus in the current campaign.

2 minCuadrado has the first shot of the day, but it is an ambitious effort from range that bounces quite a way wide and was never troubling De Sanctis.

3 minSAVE! Really smart stop from De Sanctis as he gets down well to keep out Vargas's powerful volley. It was a first time effort from a cross from the right, and De Sanctis had to be alert to get down in time as that shot was really travelling.

5 minThis has been a brilliant start to this match. It is end-to-end stuff in the opening stages and the game is being played at a frenetic pace from both sides. Fiorentina have had the two best moments so far, but Roma have also been close to threatening on a couple of occasions.

6 minDe Rossi tees the ball up to Strootman, who sends a daisy-cutter fizzing along the turf from 30 yards out. It is straight at Neto, however, who gather comfortably.

7 minGOAL! Roma 1-0 Fiorentina (Maicon)

7 minWhat a start this has been, and it is Roma who have drawn first blood. Maicon sends a fine cross into the middle which goes all the way through to Gervinho. The former Arsenal winger shows great feet to beat his man on the byline and pull it back to Florenzi, who gets a touch that takes it to Maicon, who has moved into the six yard box following his earlier cross. The full-back shows great composure to control the ball, roll it back and then slot it home from inside the six yard box to give his side the lead.

9 minThat really was good play from Gervinho in the build-up to that goal. He had very little room to manoeuvre but still managed to beat his man and pull the ball back. Arsenal fans will be wondering just where this form has come from!

11 minMore good play from Gervinho on the edge of the box and the ball eventually falls to Florenzi, whose deflected cross goes into the side netting.

11 minSAVE! The ball is flicked on from a free kick to De Rossi, who gets a powerful header in, forcing a very good stop from Neto. It was pretty much straight at the Fiorentina keeper, but he still had to show good reactions to palm it away.

13 minRoma have got a lot of momentum right now, and Gervinho is at the heart of it all. He leads a quick counter attack and feeds it to Ljajic, whose long range efforts deflects off a defender and threatens to loop over Neto, but the keeper gets back in time to stop it.

15 minThis really has been a superb opening 15 minutes to this match. The first five probably just about belonged to Fiorentina, but since them Roma have moved into another gear and spent 10 minutes completely on top. The visitors are just easing their way back into it now, however.

16 minYELLOW CARD! Gonzalo Rodriguez becomes the first man in the book for a late swipe at Gervinho. He can have no complaints at that decision, but it seems to be the only way to stop Gervinho at the moment!

18 minRoma break quickly again and Ljajic plays it back to Pjanic on the edge of the box. He takes a touch before trying to curl it into the far corner, but he gets it all wrong and sends it a long way wide.

20 minVargas does well to beat Maicon down the left wing and he delvers a good cross into the middle, but it is just a inch or two too high for Cuadrado in the middle. Fiorentina have responded well to that early setback.

21 minCHANCE! Roma make a mess of a clearance and give the ball away to Rossi in their own area. The league's top scorer somehow resists the attentions of two Roma defenders, turning them to see the whites of the goalkeeper's eyes, only for his half volley to be deflected over the top by a last-ditch tackle.

23 minYELLOW CARD! Pjanic picks up a yellow card for picking the ball up after he thought that he had been fouled. Instead of bowing to the Roma man's wishes, the ref awards the free kick Fiorentina's way and books the Bosnian.

25 minCuadrado gives the ball to Vargas around 25 yards from goal, and he only has one thought in his mind. He takes a touch before shooting early as De Rossi was closing in quickly. His shot certainly doesn't lack power, but it just swings away from the goal.

26 minAIR SHOT! I dare say that this is the Gervinho Arsenal fans are more used to seeing! The winger is played in behind the defence and has a good chance to squeeze the ball in from a tight angle, but he swings wildly at it, completely missing it and falling over for good measure.

28 minRoma work the ball out to the right after another quick counter. Maicon picks it up and works a yard of space on the edge of the box, but he chooses to go for goal instead of looking for a teammate, slicing his shot well wide of the near post.

29 minGOAL! Roma 1-1 Fiorentina (Juan Manuel Vargas)

29 minMy word, I'm surprised that even the net was able to stop this one! Tomovic does really well down the right flank, beating Ljajic to the byline before pulling it back into a very dangerous area. Everyone misses it in the middle and it rolls all the way out to Vargas, who absolutely hammers it into the roof of the net from around 12 yards. That was a thunderous finish.

31 minMaicon picks the ball up on the right again and goes for goal from an even more unlikely angle than his last effort. This time he gets it on target, but Neto is never going to be beaten at his near post from there and he makes a comfortable save.

33 minRoma have responded really well to that equalising goal, reasserting their dominance and getting right on the front foot. Can they regain their lead before half time?

35 minLovely football from Fiorentina as Cuadrado drifts in from the right and plays a one-two with Rossi to move inside the box. He has to take his shot early and that makes it harder for him as he lifts it over the bar with his right foot.

36 minRossi tries a speculative effort from a long way out, but he doesn't really catch hold of it as it bounces harmlessly into the arms of De Sanctis. Those aren't the types of goals that he is most associated with, but his confidence is high enough to try anything at the moment.

37 minThis time it is Cuadrado who goes for goal from a long, long way out. Unlike Rossi, he can't get his shot on target as it flies three or four yards wide of the post.

39 minLjajic and Gervinho have swapped flanks for Roma here, and I'm not quite sure why. Ljajic has struggled to get into the game so far, but Gervinho has getting a lot of joy down the left wing and has not been able to influence the games as much since the change.

41 minThis is very evenly balanced at the moment as we go into the last five minutes of the first half. A draw would probably be the fairest result at the break, and it is very nicely poised for an even better second half.

43 minMaicon's cross is blocked by a defender and Neto scrambles across to try to keep it in. For a moment it looks like the ball has come loose, giving Maicon an easy finish, but the linesman's flag eventually goes up for a corner.

44 minCLOSE! From the resulting corner Benatia rises highest to flick a header goalwards, but it ends up just too high. He probably should have done a bit better there, and his face afterwards suggests that he knows it.

45 minHALF TIME: Roma 1-1 Fiorentina

12.21pmNo additional time at the end of the half, then, as the referee blows for half time. It was a thoroughly entertaining opening 45 minutes, with both sides playing some attractive, attacking football. It is very nicely poised for the second half as both sides could really do with all three points, and both can still very realistically go and get it.

12.23pmThe 1-1 scoreline is a fair representation of how that first half went. It was an even opening 45 minutes on the whole, with both sides enjoying spells in the ascendancy. Roma were certainly on top immediately after they took the lead, but the visitors did well to fight their way back into the match and grab a deserved equaliser just before the half-hour mark.

12.25pmThe opening goal came through Maicon's smart finish from close range after he had made his way into the unfamiliar position of the six yard box. A lot of the credit must go to Gervinho, who set up the chance, and it was a very composed finish from the wing-back.

12.27pmFiorentina's equaliser also came from inside the box, but that is where the similarities end. Vargas's strike was a thunderous effort into the roof of the net after Tomovic had done really well to reach the byline. He gave the scrambling keeper and defence no chance with the sheer power of the shot, and he did really well to keep it down having opted to go for power over accuracy.

12.29pmMy pre-match prediction was 1-1, but I would be surprised if we didn't see another goal in this match. It will be interesting to see how Fiorentina approach the second half as a point away to Roma is by no means a bad result, but they will also know that they are in with a chance of winning this one and becoming the first team to topple Rudi Garcia's side this season.

12.31pmAs things stand, Roma would still be five points behind league leaders Juventus, so a win would probably be marginally more valuable to them than it would to Fiorentina, who would move into fourth if things stay the same.

12.33pmOne thing Roma will look to do in the second half is get Gervinho back involved a bit more. He was at the centre of everything good they did when they were on top in the first half, but his influence on the game waned as the match progressed, most notably when he was moved from the left wing out to the right.

46 minKICKOFF: Roma get us back underway at the Stadio Olimpico. Can they end their run of four successive draws, or will their winless streak continue this afternoon?

48 minCLOSE! A short free kick is played to Valero, who whips a good ball into the middle. Rossi shows smart movement to get in front of his man and plant a solid header just over the bar.

49 minThis one also goes over the top, but it is around 30 yards higher than Rossi's effort. The ball ricocheted to Florenzi around 25 yards from goal, but his first-time half volley flies into row Z.

50 minCHANCE! I'm not quite sure how Fiorentina didn't get a touch to that one! A very dangerous low ball is played in from the left, splitting the defence and the keeper as it rolls across the edge of the six yard box. Aquilani is inches from making contact, and right behind him Rossi also stretches every sinew but can't get there as the ball trickles across and the danger is eventually cleared.

52 minThis half has picked up where the first left off, which is good to see. Both teams are still committing men forward and are more focused on winning this game than not losing it. I would be very surprised if there were no more goals in this match today.

53 minThe goals are going to come like that, though. Rodriguez heads the ball out to Rossi, who goes for goal from some 35 yards out. It isn't quite as high as Florenzi's effort a few minutes ago, but it is still a long, long way over the crossbar.

55 minIt looks like Roma are about to make a change, but it is not going to be Totti. The home talisman is available for Rudi Garcia, but I would be surprised if we saw him come on for any longer than five minutes or so at the end - if that.

57 minSAVE! Gervinho is back on the left and back causing problems. He beats his man for pace before cutting back inside and drilling a low shot that is saved by Neto. The ball bounces back out, but the rebound is not struck well and Neto makes a much more comfortable second stop.

58 minROMA SUB: The first change of the day sees Florenzi make way for Mattia Destro, who is making his first appearance of the season.

60 minCHANCE! What a chance that is for Aquilani! Cuadrado dances past a man on the edge of the box before playing a square ball into Aquilani, who misses his shot when he had a simple finish with the goal gaping. That is a dreadful miss, it should be 2-1 to the visitors.

60 minYELLOW CARD! De Sanctis goes into the book for a moment of madness a couple of minutes ago when he complained at a foul despite being given the free kick, and then taking the free kick quickly, slipping over and giving the ball away.

61 minSAVE! Brilliant from Gervinho as he bursts past three or four players into the box before leaving it for Ljajic, who is denied by Neto at the near post.

62 minOFF THE POST! Roma are inches away for regaining the lead! It was Strootman's effort that hit the outside of the woodwork after he found space inside the box to shoot. It was good play from Maicon to set up the chance. So close!

63 minYELLOW CARD! Neto has been booked in amongst all of that action, but I'm not quite sure why. That is both goalkeepers booked in this match.

65 minThis match has really come to life again in the last five minutes. Roma are on top now after that scare from Aquilani's miss, but this one is still very finely poised. I still wouldn't like to call it, it could go either way.

67 minCHANCE! It should be 2-1, and it should be a second for Maicon. The Brazilian full-back plays a one-two with Gervinho before hammering his shot at the keeper from a tight angle.

68 minGOAL! Roma 2-1 Fiorentina (Mattia Destro)

68 minRoma regain the lead! A short corner is eventually worked into Gervinho, who again shows great pace to reach the byline and cut the ball back for Destro, who slots it into the unguarded net from close range on his return. He takes his shirt off in the celebration and is duly booked by the ref.

70 minGREAT SAVE! Superb save from De Sanctis! Pasqual swings a brilliant free kick towards the top corner and it is hard to see how he could have placed it any better, but De Sanctis flies across to tip it over the bar with one hand. He is flocked by his teammates as if he has just saved a penalty, they know how valuable that save could be.

72 minYELLOW CARD! Leandro Castan was shown a yellow card for the foul that led to Pasqual's free kick then.

72 minROMA SUB: Adam Ljajic's afternoon is over as he makes way for Taddei. Ljajic hasn't quite hard the impact he would have liked against his former club today.

73 minFIORENTINA SUB: Another man who hasn't had the desired impact against his former club in Aquilani, who makes way here to be replaced by another Roma old boy in David Pizarro.

74 minCLOSE! Benatia rises well inside the box again, but once more he can't steer his header on target, putting it narrowly wide.

76 minRoma are not sitting back on their lead at all here. Gervinho is still running at the Fiorentina defence every time he gets the ball, and he has plenty of support each time. That is good to see from a neutral's point of view, but will it prove to be their downfall against a Fiorentina side capable of striking at any time?

78 minA promising Fiorentina attack eventually comes to an end with them putting the ball out to ensure that Ambrosini can receive some treatment for cramp. He is certainly feeling his age there!

79 minFIORENTINA SUB: Indeed, that will be Ambrosini's last action as he is replaced by Joaquin for the final 10 minutes or so.

81 minFiorentina have a corner that is only cleared as far as Joaquin on the edge of the box. The sub has a chance to make an immediate impact, as Destro did before him, but his first touch is poor and allows Roma to scramble it clear.

83 minFiorentina have just seven minutes left to rescue something from this match now, otherwise they risk falling behind Inter later today when they host Parma. Roma's unbeaten streak looks like it will remain intact, but the visitors will still be hopeful of nicking a draw here.

85 minSAVE! Cuadrado plays it square to Joaquin, who only has one thought in his mind. He shapes to shoot and sends a tricky effort in from 25 yards out. It bounces awkwardly for De Sanctis, but he gets his whole body behind it to make the save.

86 minFIORENTINA SUB: The visitors' goalscorer Vargas will not finish the game as he is subbed off for Ryder Matos. Can he help the Viola find a late equaliser here?

88 minRED CARD! Miralem Pjanic (Roma)

88 minBig blow for Roma as they look to close out this match as Pjanic is dismissed for a second yellow card. It was not a malicious tackle, but he mistimed the challenged and tripped his man. It seems harsh that such a tackle resulted in a red card, but it did probably deserve a yellow so the referee got it right.

90 minROMA SUB: Destro came on as a sub earlier, scored a goal, and is now being subbed off! He is the man sacrificed for Pjanic's red card, making way for Michael Bradley.

90 minThere will be a minimum of four minutes of added time here. Still time for Fiorentina!

90+2 minGREAT DEFENDING! What a big chance for Fiorentina to get the equaliser. Rossi gets away inside the box and is just about to pull the trigger when Castan flies in with a perfectly timed sliding tackle to deny the striker. That is a brilliant challenge, and a vital one as you would have certainly backed Rossi to score from there.

90+3 minYELLOW CARD! A mixture of frustration and desperation to win the ball back results in Cuadrado making a rash sliding tackle that sees him go into the referee's book.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Roma 2-1 Fiorentina

1.25pmRoma hold out for an invaluable win that brings them within three points of Juventus at the top of the table. They remain unbeaten and return to winning ways after four consecutive draws, beating Fiorentina 2-1 in a superb game.

1.27pmRoma took the lead through Maicon's close-range finish early on before Vargas hammered the equaliser in for Fiorentina on 29 minutes. Ultimately it was the sub Mattia Destra, who was later subbed off to account for Pjanic's red card, who scored the winner after some good work from Gervinho, who was undoubtedly man of the match.

1.30pmRight, that's all we have time for this afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for what was a cracking game between two of Serie A's top five. Roma will go away the happier side having returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Fiorentina, who miss the chance to move into the top four. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to check back in later for plenty more live football. Until then, though, it is goodbye from me!

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Roma boss Rudi Garcia on the touchline during a game with Livorno on August 25, 2013
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