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Mohamed Salah shines as Roma smash Fiorentina
Mohamed Salah played a starring role as Roma moved three points clear of Champions League spot rivals Fiorentina with a crushing 4-1 win at the Stadio Olimpico on Friday.
Roma XI: Szczesny; Rudiger; Digne; Florenzi; Manolas; Nainggolan; Keita; Pjanic; Perotti; Mohamed Salah; El Shaarawy.
Fiorentina XI: Tatarusanu; Roncaglia; Rodriguez; Astori; Alonso; Costa; Vecino; Valero; Bernardeschi; Ilicic; Kalinic.
In the battle for third place, Roma came out flying with several early chances, and eventually made the pressure count when Mohamed Salah’s squared pass found Stephan El Shaarawy, who finished into an open goal.
Minutes later, Salah turned from provider to scorer following some intricate build up on the right flank, before his deflected effort looped over Romania international Tatarusanu.
Fiorentina were cursing their luck after being forced into early substitutions for key midfielders Borja Valero and Matias Vecino due to injury.
Things went from bad to worse for the Viola, as Diego Perotti made it 3-0 following some good work from El Shaarawy on the left, before unselfishly passing to the Argentine.
Shortly before half time, former Barcelona winger Cristian Tello won a penalty despite appearing to dive, which Josip Ilicic dispatched coolly to reduce the deficit going into the break.
Salah, who caused controversy among Fiorentina fans after not renewing his loan there in summer, ended any hopes of a comeback after his run behind the Fiorentina back line was followed by a composed finish between the legs of Tatarusanu to make it 4-1.
Towards the end of the game, Roma legend Francesco Totti entered the action despite his recent criticism of manager Luciano Spalletti, and he came close to scoring as his late free kick hit the outside of the post.
The win moves Roma three points clear of Fiorentina in Serie A, and the latter side are now in serous danger of being caught by Inter Milan in the race for the automatic Champions League spots.
Roma will now turn their attention to a crucial Champions League tie on Tuesday night at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid, as they aim to turn around a 0-2 loss in the first leg.