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Roma gaining early season praise after road wins over Inter and Palermo

Roma gaining early season praise after road wins over Inter and Palermo

AS Roma has won two tough road games to open the Italian season and the complements are rolling in for the club's exciting play and effective economics.
AC Milan star Kaka even likened Roma to Brazil.
"They've got the idea of never giving the ball away, playing for the beauty of soccer," Kaka said. "It's similar to us Brazilians."
Six of Roma's starting 11 also arrived for free. Captain Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi and Alberto Aquilani came through Roma's development system and Alexander Doni, Rodrigo Taddei and Max Tonetto were acquired without payment.
The total cost of the starting linup from last weekend's 2-0 win at Palermo was euro29.6 million (US$40.4 million), roughly the cost of two players from any of Italy's three wealthiest clubs _ Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus.
Two weeks ago, Roma began the season by beating Inter 1-0 in the Italian Super Cup.
"If Roma confronts all the games with the same conviction and determination, and it doesn't have any attention lapses like last year, it's a candidate for the title," said Fabio Capello, the coach who guided Roma to its last title in 2000-01.
Totti, who has been with Roma since he was 13, sees a difference between the 2000-01 team _ which relied on a trident of forwards (Totti, Gabriel Batistuta and Vincenzo Montella) _ and this year's unit.
"That Roma was centered on individuals. This one is based on the collective, and playing together," Totti said.
Roma's athleticism overwhelmed both Inter and Palermo. Former FC Barcelona midfielder Ludovic Giuly has fit right in, Aquilani is back in form after an injury-plagued season, and Mirko Vucinic has improved on the left wing.
"Two tough stadiums. Not many teams would win both," said De Rossi, a fixture on Italy's national team. "We've given a strong signal to everyone, but most of all to ourselves. We're maturing."
Roma hosts Siena in its home opener Sunday, before which Totti will receive the Golden Shoe award as the most prolific scorer in Europe last season _ with 26 goals.
Defending champion Inter, meanwhile, heads to Empoli on Saturday in further crisis following a 5-0 friendly loss to Barcelona on Wednesday.
Besides the super cup loss, Inter was also disappointed after drawing 1-1 at home with Udinese in its league opener. Goalkeeper Julio Cesar was expelled from the Udinese game, meaning Francesco Toldo will start against Empoli.
Inter's biggest problem has been its physical form.
"You can definitely call us a work in progress," said Ivan Carminati, Inter's head athletic trainer. "But I can assure you we are working hard. If we've had problems in these first two games it's only because our team is muscular and powerful. Players with these type of characteristics take longer to come into form."
AC Milan faces Fiorentina on Monday to allow an extra day of rest following the European Super Cup match against Sevilla on Friday. Milan opened the season in style with a 3-0 win over Genoa.
Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo is out with a right ankle injury after scoring in the Viola's 3-0 win over Empoli. Martin Jorgensen and Franco Semioli are expected back from injury and Fiorentina is also excited about another midfielder, Zdravko Kuzmanovic, who impressed against Empoli and scored twice for Serbia in a loss to Belgium last week.
Juventus, which scored five goals against Livorno in its Serie A return, visits Cagliari, which has also had an impressive start _ beating Napoli in its opener and edging Siena in the Italian Cup.
Lazio, fresh off qualifying for the Champions League, visits Sampdoria, which faced Hajduk Split on Thursday with a chance of making the UEFA Cup.
Italy forward Antonio Di Natale was hurt in Udinese's 3-0 win over Bari in the Italian Cup on Wednesday and could miss Udinese's game against Napoli.
Napoli lost its Serie A return to Cagliari but showed signs of improvement by beating Livorno on penalties in the Italian Cup with only 10 men.
Catania hosts Genoa for its first match at home in seven months following the killing of a policeman during a riot after a game against Sicilian rival Palermo in February.
The widow of slain policeman Filippo Raciti will attend the match but Catania coach Silvio Baldini is banned for kicking Parma counterpart Domenico Di Carlo in the backside.
Sunday's other games are: Atalanta vs. Parma, Livorno vs. Palermo and Torino vs. Reggina.


Updated : 2021-08-02 08:10 GMT+08:00