ROME: Roma clinched a seventh successive Serie A victory on Friday (Saturday in Manila) when a 4-1 mauling of title rivals Fiorentina also boosted their Champions League qualification campaign.
On-loan striker Stephan El Shaarawy, Mohamed Salah, with two goals, and a Diego Perotti strike allowed Luciano Spalletti’s third-placed side to cut the gap to leaders Juventus to five points.
Francesco Totti, who has been locked in a bitter dispute with the club over a contract extension, almost completed a perfect evening at the Stadio Olimpico.
As time ticked down, the 39-year-old substitute just brushed a post with a long-range free-kick.
The defeat left Fiorentina in fourth spot, three points behind Roma but eight off the pace being set by champions Juventus.
Victory was Roma’s second in the league over Fiorentina this season but they had lost to their rivals twice at home in the Europa League and Italian Cup.
Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic said the victory will boost their confidence of playing in the Champions League again next season.
“Can we hope for more than third place? We’ll see, we go step by step,” he said.
“Tonight we’ve done the job against a good team. It was a beautiful Roma and we have to keep going like this with the same enthusiasm and the same rhythm.”
Salah was at the heart of Roma’s opener after 21 minutes when his cross from the right was stroked home by El Shaarawy.
It was a fifth goal in six games for El Shaarawy since he joined on loan from AC Milan.
Three minutes later, Salah was on the scoresheet when a long-range shot took a huge deflection off Davide Astori and ballooned over goalkepeer Ciprian Tatarusanu.
Perotti added the third on 38 minutes after being put through by El Shaarawy before Fiorentina pulled one back from the penalty spot.
Josip Ilicic converted the spot-kick after Lucas Digne had brought down Cristian Tello.
Salah scored Roma’s fourth just before the hour mark and with the points wrapped up, Totti was summoned from the bench to the raucous applause of the fans as the veteran played his 593rd Serie A game for the club.