Vidic's maiden goal secures Inter the points

Justin Davis
AFP

Milan (AFP) - A second-half brace by captain Francesco saved Roma's blushes in a 2-2 draw with city rivals Lazio that pulled the Giallorossi level with Juventus at the top of Italy's Serie A on Sunday.

Roma started the 141st 'Derby della Capitale' only one point behind Juventus, who can pull three points clear with a win away to high-flying Napoli in Sunday's late game.

Elsewhere, Fiorentina moved into the top six after dominating a seven-goal thriller in Florence where Spanish veteran Joaquin's 74th minute strike capped a 4-3 win for Vincenzo Montella's men.

Sampdoria remained in the hunt for a Champions League place thanks to Eder's 49th minute strike in a 1-0 home win over Empoli, while Cagliari gave their bid to beat the drop a boost with a precious 2-1 win over basement side Cesena.

Atalanta and Chievo played out a dull 1-1 draw in Bergamo, while Parma's relegation woes were compounded by a 3-1 defeat away to Verona with veteran striker Luca Toni hitting his sixth goal of the campaign for the hosts.

Roma welcomed Lazio to a packed-out Stadio Olimpico intent on claiming the win that would see them go top, but Stefano Pioli's men had other ideas.

Italy midfielder Antonio Candreva fired a warning when he turned inside to sweep a curling drive just past Morgan De Sanctis's far post in the opening minutes.

Lazio broke the deadlock on 25 minutes after Radja Nainggolan lost possession in midfield. Anderson pounced to lob the ball over Daniele De Rossi and into the path of Mauri for the Lazio skipper to sweep the ball past De Sanctis from close range.

Anderson doubled Lazio's lead only four minutes later with a fine daisycutter that sneaked just inside De Sanctis's post. It was the Brazilian's sixth goal in his last six matches, including one in Lazio's 3-0 Cup win over Varese last month.

Garcia took affirmative action at half-time, replacing Nainggolan and Alessandro Florenzi with Kevin Strootman and Adem Ljajic respectively, and after only three minutes Roma had reduced the arrears.

Totti was unmarked when he ghosted in towards the back post for a cross which he met first time to fire past Marchetti at the keeper's near post.

It gave Roma some much needed impetus and minutes later Juan Iturbe was given space to launch a vicious 30-metre drive that stung the palms of Marchetti and almost caught the 'keeper unawares.

Lazio remained a threat and De Sanctis had to look lively to punch away a dangerous Candreva free kick.

But minutes later Totti sent the Olimpico into raptures when he again ran in at the back post to meet Jose Holebas's curling delivery to send a flying acrobatic effort past Marchetti.

It was Totti's 239th goal in Serie A, taking the 38-year-old to within 35 of Silvio Piola's all-time record of 274. It was also Totti's 11th in the Rome derby -- an absolute record.

Totti, who is in his 22nd season with the club, celebrated by taking a telephone from one of the Roma coaching staff and taking a 'selfie' picture of himself before returning to the pitch.

Pioli replaced the misfiring Filip Djordjevic with Miroslav Klose minutes later and the German striker should have wrapped up the points in the final minute only to see his drive from point-blank range blocked by De Sanctis.

Earlier, former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic's first goal for Inter Milan secured a 3-1 win over Genoa in their Serie A clash on Sunday as on-loan Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski made his first start for the hosts.

Inter are now 15 points behind champions and leaders Juventus, but just six behind third-placed Lazio.

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