Mon, Jan 23, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Totti sets record as Roma rout Cesena

HOT SHOT:Francesco Totti reached 211 Serie A goals for AS Roma, surpassing the 210 that Swede Gunnar Nordahl managed for AC Milan more than 50 years ago

AFP, ROME

AS Roma’s Francesco Totti, right, scores against Cesena in their Serie A match at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Francesco Totti set a new single-club scoring record in Serie A as AS Roma thrashed Cesena 5-1 on Saturday, while Juventus put daylight between themselves and the chasing pack with a 2-0 success at Atalanta BC.

Club captain Totti scored twice inside the opening eight minutes, while Fabio Borini, Juan and Miralem Pjanic scored the other goals, with Eder netting for Cesena, who remain rooted in the bottom three.

It meant the 35-year-old reached 211 top-flight league goals for the capital club, surpassing the 210 that Swedish great Gunnar Nordahl managed for AC Milan more than 50 years ago.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted, to wear this shirt and beat one record after another,” Totti said. “I feel good, I’m going to enjoy this splendid moment and I will keep playing as long as I’m physically able to do what I want to do, and if that’s no longer the case, I’ll be the first to stop.”

Sixth-placed Roma are now 11 points off top spot, having played a game less than Juve.

“This type of football doesn’t just please me, but would please any coach,” coach Luis Enrique said. “If the players enjoy themselves, they have a better chance of winning. Everything seemed easy today because we were almost perfect in the beginning, but Cesena are an excellent side. The result was such because we were on a very high level.”

The match was all over inside eight minutes as Roma swept into a three-goal lead, carving through Cesena’s porous defense.

After Gabriel Heinze’s raking cross-field ball, Totti took a back-heel from Erik Lamela after just 40 seconds and fired home at Francesco Antonioli’s near post thanks to a deflection off Maurizio Lauro. Then on eight minutes, he was there at the back post — although television replays showed he was offside — to volley home Lamela’s cross from the left.

Before the eighth minute was up, Gianluca Comotto was caught in possession and Totti released Leandro Greco down the left to cross for Borini to tap home.

In the second period, Cesena briefly rallied when Brazilian Eder skipped between defenders Heinze and Rodrigo Taddei onto a through ball, chipped goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and shot home on 58 minutes, but just three minutes later Borini headed a corner goalwards that Antonioli tipped onto the post, only for Juan to slot home the loose ball from close range.

Pjanic rounded off the scoring 20 minutes from time as he strode forward and hit a shot that was too hot for Antonioli to handle. While Cesena’s defense ball-watched, the Bosnia international darted onto the loose ball and knocked it in.

Unbeaten Juve are now four points clear and they have secured the unofficial title of winter champions, having reached the halfway point of the season in top spot.

“It will be difficult to repeat this in the second half of the season, but it’s very satisfying to be winter champions,” Juve coach Antonio Conte said.

Goals from Stephan Lichtsteiner and Emanuele Giaccherini sunk Atalanta, who lost for the third time in a row.

In an entertaining first half in Bergamo, Juve twice hit the woodwork. Andrea Barzagli used his body to defend the ball in the box, before shooting goalwards, only for Andrea Consigli to tip the ball onto the post. The goalkeeper was then beaten by a fierce drive from distance by Arturo Vidal, but the ball crashed back off the post.

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