AS Roma Match Program (Tiziano Riccardi) Any time of the week, in any season, this is always a good game. Roma-Fiorentina has become a classic match, almost always full of goals and stylish football, whether it has been in the league, Coppa Italia or the Europa League. In fact, along with Inter, the Viola are the only team who the Giallorossi have faced both domestically and on the European stage. What’s more, at some point Roma have faced Fiorentina on every day of the week, from Monday to Sunday. Whether it was for safety reasons, the vagaries of modern football, or cup schedules, the fact remains that this game has always had a unique place in the football calendar. It’s impossible to mention all the best games in such a small space, but we can revisit some of the biggest here.
Monday has to be Fiorentina’s 3-1 win on 9th April, 2001. It was the year of Roma’s third scudetto win, and the game had to be played on a Monday after the former Prefect of Florence, Achille Serra, and former Fiorentina director Mario Sconcerti raised potential safety concerns. The decision was taken to stem the tide of Roma fans heading north from the capital. It only had a limited effect though because 5,000 fans still turned up with a banner saying “We’re all hairdressers [i.e. we don’t work Mondays, ed.]”. Although the supporters may have won the battle on the terraces with their ironic Roman humour, Capello’s team lost the battle on the pitch after Chiesa scored twice and Candela scored an own-goal. Emerson’s equaliser, a header scored from a corner, was of little use. That afternoon, a young midfielder – not yet 18 years old – had been added to the first team squad. He had blond hair and great potential, and was called Daniele De Rossi. Though it was only small, he had a role in the scudetto victory, which Roma sealed on 17th June, 2001 at home to Parma.
Tuesday’s game will be their first ever league meeting on that day, but not their first ever. They previously played on a Tuesday on 3rd February, 2015 in the Coppa Italia quarter final at the Olimpico. The Gigliati won 2-0 that day with a brace from Gomez. It was also the first time Montella ever beat his former club as a coach.
There are 2 games worthy of mention from the most recent games played on a Wednesday. The first is a midweek league fixture, played on 10th November, 2010: Roma won it 3-2 with goals from Simplicio, Borriello, Gilardino, Perrotta and D’Agostino. The second was a clash for a place in the Coppa Italia quarter finals at the Artemio Franchi (16th January, 2013): Roma won 1-0 after Destro scored in extra time. The game is noteworthy for 2 reasons. The first is that it was the only time Zeman’s selection of a 3-man defence paid off. The second is because, towards the end, there was a fracas between Dodo and Cuadrado that led to them both being sent off. Rai‘s pitchside analyst talked about “pure violence” between the players – “I’ve never seen anything like it before”. It was unjustified sensationalism, it wasn’t actually that serious – both players were quickly separated by their team-mates.
Both legs of their Europa League tie were played on a Thursday, on 12th and 19th March, 2015. The first leg finished 1-1 at the Franchi (Ilicic and Keita), but Garcia’s side crumbled in the capital as Rodriguez, Alonso and Basanta all scored in a 3-0 win. The Egyptian Salah was in the Viola XI that day and played a major part in his side’s win. He moved to Roma the following year.
Friday is also the day of the team’s last meeting at the Olimpico, 4th March, 2016. It finished 4-1 to Spalletti’s side: El Shaarawy, Perotti and Salah (2) scored the Giallorossi goals. It was a brilliant performance, perhaps Roma’s best in 2015/16.
8th December, 2012 was an unbelievably cold Saturday at the Olimpico. The freezing wind coming down off the mountains didn’t affect Zeman’s Roma though as they swept past Montella’s Fiorentina 4-2. It was a feast of goals, which Castan, Roncaglia, Totti (2), El Hamdaoui and Osvaldo all participated in.
And Sunday? Sunday is the traditional day for football. Earlier this season, for example, Paulo Sousa’s team won 1-0 with a goal from Badelj on a Sunday. But this time it will be different. And it’ll be played on another day of the week: Tuesday.