AS Roma beats Lecce 2-0 in Serie A

AS Roma beats Lecce 2-0 in Serie A

Totti and Lecce's Ruben Olivera clashed in the buildup to the second goal and referee Andrea Gervasoni immediately sent the pair off yesterday.

Totti's automatic one-game ban will rule him out of the Rome derby on November 7, but he could face further sanctions after he chased Olivera toward the tunnel to remonstrate further.

"The sending off seemed a bit excessive for both players," Roma coach Claudio Ranieri said. "Olivera fouled Totti as we counterattacked and he reacted, but a yellow card would have sufficed.

"It's upsetting that he will miss the derby because it is a game we felt we could win," Ranieri said. Goalscorer Nicolas Burdisso said: "We will miss him a lot and not only when he's on the pitch, where he makes a massive difference for us, but with his overall presence. He's our symbol."

Juventus beat AC Milan 2-1 through goals from Fabio Quagliarella and Alessandro Del Piero either side of halftime. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored for Milan with eight minutes remaining, but Juventus held on for the win.

The loss was only Milan's second of the season and came at the end of the week in which Italian bookmakers installed it as title favorite. "No one believed in Juventus after all we have been through this year," midfielder Felipe Melo said. "But tonight we showed the real Juventus, the one that we believed in.

"We have worked hard together and now we are on the right track."

Roma enjoyed the better of its match, with Mirko Vucinic causing Lecce's defense problems with his pace on the left wing. He hit the bar in the first half, as did Lecce's David Di Michele.

After halftime, Roma increased the pressure and Burdisso made the breakthrough with a header in the 62nd, with Vucinic deservedly adding a second in the 76th.

"Mirko had a great game today and he didn't stop running," Ranieri said. "In the last three matches we've taken seven points and we need to continue in that form."

Di Michele sparked the match into life in the 11th when his shot from outside the area rebounded off the bar. Roma hit back and in the 15th Borriello headed wide from a free kick by Totti.

Vucinic then began to stamp his mark on proceedings. Three times in the first half he cut inside the Lecce defense and was denied by goalkeeper Antonio Rosati. On a fourth occasion he hit the bar.

Despite Roma's dominance, Lecce missed a great chance to open the scoring just before halftime. There was a mix-up between Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio and Juan, Di Michele swept on the loose ball, centered for Daniele Corvia, but Burdisso went down onto his knees to stop the shot.

After the break Rosati again kept Lecce in the match when he stopped Borriello's effort, but there was little he could do to deny Burdisso. John Arne Riise whipped over a cross from the left and the Argentine rose above everyone else to head beyond Rosati.

Vucinic wrapped up the result with his second of the season, as Totti and Olivera were earning straight red cards. Milan started strongly as it sought to gain a confidence-boosting win ahead of Real Madrid's visit to the San Siro in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic hit the bar in the seventh and then set Alexandre Pato up for a shot that Juventus goalkeeper Marco Storari saved. Del Piero had Juventus' first chance. He raced from the halfway line, but Christian Abbiati pushed his shot away for a corner.

Quagliarella opened the scoring with a header from Paolo De Ceglie's cross and Del Piero doubled the lead in the 65th with a low shot after Mohamed Sissoko held up the ball in the Milan area.

Ibrahimovic's header gave Milan hope, but the host was unable to find a way past Storari in the Juventus goal.

"This year everything is different from last season," Melo said. "We are a different team and we have it in our heads that we can win the championship, even though on paper Inter (Milan) and Milan are stronger teams than us."

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