Friday, July 18 th, 2014
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Vintage Milan-Roma: the 2003 decisive clash and Totti's magic in 2006
Ten years ago Milan won their 17th title in a face-to-face with the Giallorossi. Three years later, Totti scored a fantastic double at San Siro
by Federico Formica
Ten years ago Milan-Roma was a crucial match for the destiny of the Scudetto. It was the 2003-2004 season: on May 2nd the Giallorossi went to San Siro with a three point disadvantage from the Diavolo, who were leading the table after a marvelous recovery during the season: at Christmas the Giallorossi were six points clear of Milan. That clash was full of exes; Fabio Capello (Roma's coach) was the coach of il Milan degli Invincibili in the early Nineties, whereas Carlo Ancelotti (who sat on Milan's bench) was a Roma icon as a player in the eighties. Another ex was Cafu, the Brazilian full back who won a title in Rome in 2001.

Winning at La Scala del Calcio would have meant re-establishing the race, for a scorching Serie A final. But that didn't happen: after two minutes, Shevchenko finished an assist by Kakà with a terrifically powerful header, and that was sufficient. Roma were nervous and didn't manage to create any danger for Dida.

Sheva was the absolute protagonist of that afternoon. In the second half, Francesco Totti took a free-kick just outside the penalty area, and the Ukranian touched the ball with his hand. The Giallorossi complained vehemently, but referee Messina didn't see it. Roma fans exploded many firecrackers in frustration and the intervention of Totti and Capello was necessary to calm them down. That afternoon, Milan celebrated their 17th Italian title, the first (and the only one) with Ancelotti as a coach.

Three years later, Roma was back on track. That was a spectacular side: Luciano Spalletti managed to build a wonder-team that had in Totti its finest piece. In that season (2006-2007) the number 10 was Serie A's top goalscorer with 26 goals and he even won the Golden Boot as most prolific striker in Europe. That November 12nd the Giallorossi broke a twenty-year taboo: the last time that Roma stormed San Siro against Milan dated back to 1986. Milan is one of the preferred victims of Francesco Totti: he scored 10 goals against the Rossoneri between Serie A and Coppa Italia.

That night, he netted a double. The winner is a masterpiece that deserves to be seen again 8 years later: a rabona by Alberto Aquilani for Mancini; the Brazilian delivers a perfect cross for Totti, who punishes Dida with an easy header. All that within four seconds.

An oddity: the referee of the game was Domenico Messina, the same referee that didn't see the hand ball by Sheva three years before. That night, Messina (correctly) annulled the equaliser by Filippo Inzaghi for an off-side position.

Friday, April 25 th, 2014
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