Roma vs. Milan, final score 2-0: Roma move to within five points of first

Paolo Bruno

The race for the scudetto continues, with Roma's win over Milan ensuring that Juventus cannot claim the title at the end of the round.

The race for the scudetto continues, with Roma's win over Milan ensuring that Juventus cannot claim the title at the end of the round. Instead the champions-elect will finish Week 35 with, at most, an eight-point advantage, while Roma fans will be cheering on Sassuolo on Monday night.

Meanwhile, Milan squandered an opportunity to take control of sixth place -- and the final Europa League spot -- on Friday night at the Olimpico. It may, however, have been part of a grand plan, as the struggling side are hoping for an inflow of cash from a preseason tour.

If it was part of a grand plan, however, it didn't do much to sell Clarence Seedorf as a viable candidate to continue his reign in Milan's dugout come next season. While the visitors did see plenty of the ball in the first half, they could really do nothing with it.

Perhaps the best chance for the rossoneri came right around the half-hour mark. Leandro Castán foolishly gave the ball away, allowing Mario Balotelli to streak down the pitch. The forward had plenty of time to take a shot, but instead elected to cut back. By that time the Roma players pursuing him had caught up, and Balotelli took the opportunity to dramatically go to ground.

Miralem Pjanić finally broke the deadlock with a fantastic solo goal shortly before the break. The midfielder easily slipped past Sulley Muntari, dodged Riccardo Montolivo, and evaded Adil Rami to go one-on-one with Christian Abiatti. Pjanić's finish was calm and composed, firing low into the near corner.

Milan tried to respond quickly, but Kakà's shot was tame, and Morgan De Sanctis had no trouble keeping out the attempt to keep his side in front.

The visitors started the second half brightly, breaking up the left and getting past the Roma defense. A shot from Montolivo went just wide, but it was certainly a warning for the giallorossi that Milan weren't prepared to just accept the loss.

But it was Pjanić who threatened next, taking a chance on a bobbling ball that dropped at his feet. It took a spectacular jump from Abbiati to prevent Roma from doubling their lead.

Indeed, it was Roma that got the second goal. Francesco Totti got on the end of a ball from Adem Ljajić, and the captain's sharp shot brought Abbiati to his back. Unfortunately for the rossoneri, the goalkeeper also allowed the ball to dribble away, into the path of an onrushing Gervinho.

In an attempt to change things up and perhaps get at least a point, Seedorf replaced Balotelli with Giampaolo Pazzini. This, of course, only resulted in an unhappy torrent of words directed at the Milan boss as Balotelli left the pitch -- but with exactly zero shots on goal from the forward, Seedorf likely had little choice.

The change had little effect. Milan were only able to get into the game in the final five minutes or so, and that was primarily because Roma flipped the switch. The rossoneri cracks, papered up over the last month, are showing once more.

AS Roma: De Sanctis; Dodo, Castan, Toloi, Maicon (Torosidis 83); Nainggolan, De Rossi, Pjanic (Taddei 86); Gervinho, Totti (Florenzi 77), Ljajic

Goals: Pjanic 43'; Gervinho 65'

AC Milan: Abbiati; Constant, Mexes, Rami, Bonera; Taarabt, Muntari (Essien 58), Montolivo, Honda (Robinho 81); Kaka, Balotelli (Pazzini 69)

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