Substitute Alessandro Florenzi scored a stoppage-time winner to keep AS Roma’s faint title hopes alive as they beat Torino 2-1 at home in Serie A on Tuesday.
The exuberant celebrations of the Roma players and coach Rudi Garcia demonstrated precisely how important the goal was from the 83rd-minute replacement.
Leading Serie A goalscorer Ciro Immobile scored a stunning volley for Torino to cancel out Mattia Destro’s opener.
Second-placed Roma moved 11 points behind Juventus, though Antonio Conte’s side could restore their 14-point advantage with a win at home to Parma yesterday — although they would then have played a game more than Roma.
Garcia’s team moved nine points clear of third-placed SSC Napoli.
“I feel so emotional, I had always dreamed of scoring a goal under the Curva Sud and it’s finally happened after two years,” an exhausted Florenzi said.
Immobile again boosted his chances of being included in Italy’s World Cup squad as he scored his 17th league goal of the season in front of national team coach Cesare Prandelli.
“The goal was nice, but unfortunately it didn’t help us,” Immobile said.
It was Roma captain Francesco Totti’s 700th appearance for the club where he has spent his entire career.
Torino goalkeeper Daniele Padelli had kept his side in the match with a number of fine saves, including a fantastic double stop to first deny Destro from point-blank range, before turning Miralem Pjanic’s followup round his right post.
Destro broke the deadlock four minutes from halftime, although he was marginally offside when he collected Gervinho’s through-ball, turned and fired past Padelli at full stretch.
Immobile leveled seven minutes after the break with an extraordinary volley into the far side of the net from Giuseppe Vives’ long ball.
The 24-year-old, who scored a hat-trick against AS Livorno at the weekend, now has one more goal than Juventus striker Carlos Tevez.
Both sides had chances to take the lead, but it was Roma who took the points after another good through-ball from Gervinho to Florenzi, who smashed a shot into the far corner.