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Roma's Title Challenge in Tatters as Totti Limps Off Again
Guardian, April 21st, 2008 4:45PM
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The Italian league title inched closer toward its inevitable conclusion on Sunday when second-place Roma failed to beat Livorno, Serie A's worst team heading into Saturday's clash at the Stadio Olimpico. Once again, Roma fans were forced to watch their captain and talisman Francesco Totti limp off the field with an injury -- one that will this time end his season. Once again, the Giallorossi let in a late goal to tie inferior opposition, 1-1; and once again, league leader Inter Milan did its duty in defeating another relegation-threatened team that probably deserved a draw itself.

Upon viewing Inter's 1-0 win in Torino, the Gazzetta dell Sport's Roma-supporting former editor lamented, "This scudetto's closing credits, leaving aside unlikely mathematical possibilities, have been provided by the most pragmatic Inter of the season." Pragmatic indeed: Inter replaced its second striker less than 10 minutes after scoring in the first half and then defended the entire second half to preserve the result.

Meanwhile, the familiar sight of Totti leaving early "provided the neatest synopsis of a season of bad breaks and missed opportunities" for Roma, Guardian columnist Paolo Baldini said. "Totti's recurring injuries, along with those suffered by teammates such as Alberto Aquilani, have set back a team that once again this season played some of the best football in Serie A, yet once again finds itself looking to the Coppa Italia for a consolation prize." The Roma captain will now miss a minimum of four months after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL.

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