After a very poor start to the season, both of the clubs in Rome seem to be hitting form. Roma were convincing 3-1 winners in the Stadio Castellani against Empoli. Emerson and Candela, the latter allegedly a target for Manchester United, gave the giallorossi a 2-0 half-time lead.
Di Natale halved the deficit with 15 minutes remaining but Tommasi secured the points with a stoppage time goal, after a Batistuta effort had been ruled out for handball. It was a fitting reward for Damiano after his valiant efforts for Italy. This was Roma's third consecutive win, fourth if you include the win in Genk. They are now looking more like scudetto contenders although their football is less than brilliant. These points were earned without Francesco Totti who is suffering from a knee injury.
The Roma captain, in an interview last week, hinted that there had been problems in the Azzurri camp during the World Cup but he wouldn't elaborate. He also hoped that transfers between Roma and Lazio may happen but admitted he'd stop playing altogether if sold to them.
As for the biancocelesti, they were comfortable 3-0 winners against Perugia. Simone Inzaghi opened the scoring and Enrico Chiesa scored twice, this his first Serie A game in over a year. Mancini seems to be turning this team around, not picking Couto certainly helps his cause. On a sad note, Nicola Amoruso came on as a sub for Perugia but only lasted 20 minutes before being stretchered off.
Lazio meet Roma at the Olimpico next weekend and as both clubs are on a winning run it should be some game. Look out in particular for the spectacular banners the fans bring along. All eyes will be on Rome but for the first time in thirty years, I think, both Milan teams head the league. That is the standard the Roman rivals have to aspire to.
The derby d'Italia was its usual quiet self. A spectacular firework display set the scene and the match ended in dramatic fashion.
Del Piero seemed to have won three deserved poins for the bianconeri with an 89th minute penalty before Christian Vieri equalised in the 95th minute, with a lot of help from Toldo. To add to the excitement Conte and Morfeo were sent off and, using video evidence, Di Biagio has been given a two game ban for an incident with Davids. A busy night for Collina. In truth, Juve were the better team and should have won. Ferrara was again immense and mention also to Camoranesi who earned the penalty.
It looks like another close race for lo scudetto. Perhaps the form team in Europe just now are Milan. They won comfortably in Bergamo, despite being pegged back to 1-1 in the first half. Rivaldo, Tomasson and two Pirlo goals enabled the rossoneri to record an emphatic 4-1 win. Pirlo is in amazing form, Rui Costa now looks like the player he was at Fiorentina and these goals were all scored despite leading marksman Pippo Inzaghi. I've criticised him in the past but he's scoring at will this season. Gennaro Gattuso played the full 90 minutes, were you watching Trapattoni?
Bologna 3 Brescia 0
Como 1 Piacenza 1 This was a relegation battle at the Stadio Sinigaglia and Luigi Riccio played the full 90 minutes.
Modena 2 Parma 1
Torino 1 Chievo 0
Udinese 1 Reggina 0
Standings (after 6 games):
We'll take a look at the Italian's teams fortunes in the Champion's League in our next report.