The downfall of Juventus has created something of a vacuum at the top of the 2015 2016 Serie A league standings table-a vacuum both Fiorentina and AS Roma are out to fill. The two high-ranking Italian football clubs met for the first time this season on Sunday, October 25th. And while Fiorentina came into the match as the Serie A point leaders, it was AS Roma that left the fixture with that distinction. It seems that the battle for the Serie A top spot 2015/16 is set to be one of the highlights of this season's football action.
The Season So Far
Roma and Fiorentina-along with Napoli, Internazionale, and Lazio, all of which are in the Serie A's closely-ranked top five-have played strong football this season. The Wolves have been chasing an Italian top-flight title closely for several years now, having finished as runners-up to Juventus in both 2014 and 2015. They haven't won the Serie A since 2001, but they've finished second eight times in the years since. In other words, AS Roma might be due for a top spot position this year, and with Juventus seemingly out of the running, they're arguably the smartest bet on the table for the frontrunner position.
Fiorentina, meanwhile, have consistently finished as fourth-placers in each of the last three soccer seasons. Furthermore, where Roma faltered in their first week of 2015/16 play (drawing 1-1 with Hellas Verona), the Lilies stormed out of the gate with a 2-0 win over AC Milan. Fiorentina went on to win one of the most notable fixtures of the season, topping a revitalized Internazionale 4-1 in a September 27th away fixture.
The Head-to-Head Match
As you can see, both AS Roma and Fiorentina have solid chances of winning the 2015/16 Serie A title. That fact made for a high-stakes game when the two football clubs played one another head-to-head on October 25th.
The Wolves were sitting in the away position, but seemed undaunted by their perceived disadvantage as the game got underway. Indeed, AS Roma scored just six minutes into the proceedings. Fittingly, the goal was scored by midfielder Mohamed Salah. Salah played for Fiorentina during the second half of the 2014 2015 season, joining the Italian football club on a brief loan from Chelsea. He scored a respectable nine goals for the Lilies last season, in 26 overall appearances.
This season, Chelsea loaned Salah to Roma, who quickly exercised the option to make the move permanent at the beginning of the Serie A campaign. The Egyptian midfielder has netted five goals in his nine league appearances so far, making him one of the top goalscorers of the 2015 2016 season so far. He's scored more goals than any midfielder in the soccer league this season.
Salah's goal got things started on the right note for the Wolves. At the 34-minute mark, Roma's Gervinho made the lead a two-pointer. By halftime, things weren't looking good for the home team.
Not that Fiorentina lacked in opportunities. The Lilies dominated the game, possession-wise (they controlled the ball for 66 percent of regulation time) and also recorded 22 shots on goal. In comparison, AS Roma only tallied six shots on goal.
Despite Fiorentina's offensive advantage, though, the home team struggled to convert their chances throughout the game's 90 minutes. The one chance they did convert was the 11-to-10-man advantage they got late in the game. After picking up two yellow cards in rapid succession, Salah was sent off at the 87-minute mark. That red card dismissal left Roma down a man for the final minutes of the match, and the Lilies took advantage of that fact by finally scoring their first goal at 90+4. Ultimately, though, it was too little, too late for the home side, and Roma walked away with the win.
The New League Standings
The victory puts AS Roma at the top of the 2015/16 Serie A table, with 20 points and +11 in goal difference. Fiorentina, meanwhile, drop back to third place, with 18 points and +8 GD. Napoli (second place), Inter Milan (fourth), and Lazio (fifth) have all taken 18 points from the first nine fixtures as well. In other words, these four teams are separated by nothing more than goal difference at the moment. Look for next weekend's games to break the stalemate.
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