Giovanni Simeone scored the game’s best goal as Fiorentina somehow managed to keep a clean sheet against a dominant Roma and emerge with an unlikely 2-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday evening.
The hosts were in complete control for the majority of the match but could not find the breakthrough, allowing Stefano Pioli’s side to take control of the race for the Europa League with Atalanta dropping points away to SPAL and ahead of Sampdoria’s Derby della Lanterna later in the day.
La Viola have been in fine form over the last month and they started the brighter of the two in the capital as Marco Benassi gave them an early lead.
A corner from the right was only half cleared by the hosts and Riccardo Saponara collected the ball to the left of the box. Keeping his cool he looked up and pulled the ball back for Benassi who made no mistake in slotting home.
Roma came close to levelling with 15 minutes on the clock through Stephan El Shaarawy. Bruno Peres got to the byline on the right and clipped a cross to the back post where Il Faraone climbed highest but could only head wide.
Eusebio Di Francesco’s side continued to dominate possession without ever causing too much of a threat. With half an hour played Marco Sportiello reacted well to come out and gather the ball before Kevin Strootman could reach it for what would have been a clear chance.
What was perhaps Roma’s biggest chance of the first half came and went without the Giallorossi even getting a shot off. A cross came in from Bruno Peres and Vincent Laurini intercepted before it reached El Shaarawy at the back post, only gifting it to Maxime Gonalons in the process. The midfielder, though, struggled to get his feet untangled just ten yards from goal and Fiorentina cleared.
Against the run of play, Simeone bundled in a second for La Viola at the end of a great run. Simeone and Saponara exchanged a one-two on the right hand side out near the halfway line and the Argentine then powered at the heart of Roma’s defence. Somehow, he managed to force his way through both Kostas Manolas and Bruno Peres before prodding the ball under Alisson to make it two before the break.
Giovanni Simeone: Raging Bull.
— Chloe Beresford (@ChloeJBeresford) April 7, 2018
Expectedly, Roma showed more urgency after the break and substitute Patrick Schick had a chance within minutes of coming on at the break but headed wide, before Edin Dzeko tried to find space in the box but was crowded out and denied by Sportiello.
Radja Nainggolan picked out Strootman in the box but his touch was loose and Sportiello again came out to gather. The Belgian himself was denied seconds later as he pounced on a rare bit of space in the box but the ‘keeper did well to come out and block the effort.
Alessandro Florenzi also came on and looked to make an instant impact. His cross from the right found Schick whose decent header crashed off the crossbar. Not two minutes later the woodwork was shaking again as Federico Fazio’s header bounced off the bar and over.
For all their possession, though, Roma could not break through and get their goal, leaving Fiorentina celebrating a sixth straight win at the final whistle.
- Fiorentina have won six consecutive Serie A games for just the second time in a single season, after 1959/60 (when they collected eight successes in a row).
- AS Roma have lost six home league games for the second time in a single Serie A season – they lost eight matches on home soil in 1947/48.
- Last Fiorentina’s win away to AS Roma in Serie A had come in April 2012: since the, there had been five consecutive wins for the Giallorossi.
- Giovanni Simeone has now scored in three consecutive Serie A games for the first time since January 2017.
- Simeone has reached double figures for goals scored in both his Serie A campaign.
- Marco Benassi ended today his longest goal scoring drought in Serie A (18 appearances without scoring).
- Fiorentina had three attempts today (all on target): prior to this match, they had not fired fewer than six shots in a Serie A game this season.
- Marco Sportiello equalled his career-best tally for saves in a Serie A game (eight).
- AS Roma recorded tonight their third-highest possession in Serie A this season (71%).
- Bruno Peres attempted 10 crosses from open play, at least six more than any other player in the match.