Francesco Totti struck twice to lead AS Roma to a fourth successive win as they defeated Fiorentina 4-2 in a Serie A thriller on Saturday.
Leandro Castan and substitute Pablo Osvaldo were also on target for Zdenek Zeman’s side who moved up to fifth in the table, level on 29 points with sixth-placed Fiorentina and Lazio who are fourth.
Leaders Juventus, on 35 points, travel to Palermo on Sunday while second-placed Napoli visit Inter Milan who are third. Lazio are away to Bologna on Monday.
“Fiorentina are a good team who play football and allow you to play football too,” Zeman told reporters.
“We’ve always looked to play this way, it’s just that in the past we’ve not taken our chances and made mistakes. We’re looking to catch up on the teams in front of us and there are a lot of them.”
It was a bizarre goal that gave Roma a seventh-minute lead, Panagiotis Tachtsidis’s clumsy header bouncing up and over keeper Emiliano Viviano who could only watch as the ball looped over his head for the onrushing Castan to score.
Fiorentina levelled seven minutes later with another strange goal.
Several players were offside as Roma’s defence pushed up for Borja Valero’s free kick which found its way to the unmarked Gonzalo Rodriguez and the defender rolled the ball across to Facundo Roncaglia who netted.
Captain Totti put his team back in front when he took Mattia Destro’s cut-back and finished a swift attacking move with a deft strike from the outside of his right foot.
Fiorentina could have easily fallen further behind before Totti received the ball 30 metres out and thumped a powerful shot that slipped through Viviano’s fingers in first-half stoppage time.
The visitors pulled a goal back a minute after the restart as substitute Mounir El Hamdaoui nipped past the defence to head past keeper Mauro Goicoechea.
Roma then wasted a hatfull of chances, Alessandro Florenzi heading straight at Viviano with the goal at his mercy and Destro going close on a number of occasions.
Destro thought he had restored his side’s two-goal lead after 55 minutes when the ball dropped to him six metres out but he was denied by a spectacular block from Rodriguez.
Roma defender Marquinhos also had a goal ruled out for offside before Fiorentina almost equalized twice in the space of a minute, Haris Seferovic forcing a superb save from Goicoechea and Michael Bradley clearing off the line from the resulting corner.
Pablo Osvaldo made sure of the points for the home team with a minute to go when he met Totti’s sublime through ball and tucked the ball under Viviano.
“That was a brilliant game for those who saw it especially for Roma fans,” said Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella.
“It was a strange second half, always open, and before Roma scored their fourth we had two good chances to equalize.”
Elsewhere, goals from German Denis and Federico Peluso helped Atalanta beat Parma 2-1 to move up to eighth place, equal on 21 points with AC Milan who are seventh.
The win ended a run of three straight defeats for Atalanta while Parma slipped to ninth position.