Roma overpower Lecce
Roma went seventh in Serie A ahead of Sunday's matches after a 2-0 success against Lecce in the capital saw them earn a third home win in a row on Saturday. Argentina centre-back Nicolas Burdisso and Montenegro forward Mirko Vucinic scored the goals but both teams finished with 10 men after the dismisals of Francesco Totti and Ruben Olivera.
Roma are now closer to the business end of Serie A following a disastrous start to the season that saw them lingering in the bottom three just a couple of weeks ago. As well as two goals and two red cards, the woodwork was hit four times in an entertaining game. But Roma were counting the cost of Totti's dismisal as he will now miss next week's Rome derby against leaders Lazio.
"Of course it will hurt us a lot, not just for what he does on the pitch but for what he means to all of us," said Burdisso.
"Apart from that we played well following a negative period, we did well.
"I think we all have to win back the public with our play, with results and with the desire that we showed today and that we need to show in every game," he said.
In a first half full of scoring opportunities, Lecce threatened first when Daniele Corvia caught a dropping ball on the volley from 20 yards only to see it crash back off the bar on 11 minutes. Four minutes later Marco Borriello headed a Totti free-kick wide from 10 yards. Roma went close on 28 minutes, with Borriello converting a rebound after Totti's shot had been saved by Antonio Rosati, only for the goal to be disallowed because the ball had hit Daniele De Rossi's arm in the build-up.
Vucinic, who was a menace throughout the first half, then got in behind the Lecce defence but Rosati tipped his volley onto the bar. Vucinic broke through again in the 36th minute, but Rosati saved with his foot this time.
Probably the best chance of the first period fell to Lecce, as Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio was caught out of goal only for Burdisso to come to his rescue, blocking Corvia's weak effort on the line three minutes from the break. And Burdisso was the hero again on 62 minutes as he rose in the box to head John Arne Riise's deep cross into the top corner. Minutes later Borriello rose to meet Totti's corner but his header flicked off the top of the bar.
Roma should have buried their opponents on 75 minutes following a swift counter-attack but Vucinic lashed a volley well over the bar from Borriello's centre. But the Montenegro striker came good just a minute later after being released down the left by Totti, firing low into the far corner past Rosati.
A spat between Totti and Olivera in the break in play after that goal saw both shown a straight red card. As a result, Totti will miss the Rome derby with league leaders Lazio next week.