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Sun 10 Feb 2008 07:12 AM

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Roma regain form after Siena shock

AS Roma bounced back from last week's dire 3-0 defeat at Siena to beat Reggina 2-0.

AS Roma bounced back from last week's dire 3-0 defeat at Siena to beat Reggina 2-0 on Saturday and keep their faint title hopes alive.

Goals from Cristian Panucci and Brazilian winger Alessandro Mancini secured a comfortable yet unspectacular victory that reduced Roma's deficit to leaders Inter Milan to five points.

However, the champions can restore their eight-point advantage if they win at Catania on Sunday.

Roma's Daniele De Rossi praised the leaders but said he still felt his team can challenge them.

"They are a great team, the figures speak for themselves, the points that they've won and the players that they have," he said.

"I know they are not extraterrestrials because we're not 20 points behind like we were last year. We're on the same level but they always win and talking about them is a waste of time."

Mancini had the first clear chance of the match, forcing Andrea Campagnolo into a fine one-handed save.

But Reggina did not hold out for long as Roma went ahead on 21 minutes.

From a quickly-taken corner, captain Francesco Totti crossed deep to the back post where veteran defender Panucci arrived late to score from a tight angle, heading the ball back across goal and in off the far post.

Reggina had the better of things after the break without ever really looking like finding the net before Roma's French winger Ludovic Giuly created the winner.

Giuly twisted, turned and then shot to the far post but Campagnolo parried his effort only for Mancini to slot the loose ball into the empty yet.

Almost immediately Reggina had their best chance of the match but substitute Nigerian forward Stephen Makinwa crashed his shot against the post with Doni beaten in the Roma goal.

Earlier, Bosnian striker Zlatan Muslimovic struck in the last minute to deny Champions League chasing Fiorentina a crucial victory as Atalanta secured a 2-2 draw.

The visitors twice took the lead but it was Muslimovic who struck back for the hosts on each occasion and fourth-placed Fiorentina will see this as two vital points dropped.

Young attacking star Giampaolo Pazzini opened the scoring for the Viola on 29 minutes as he turned home a right-wing cross from Riccardo Montolivo but Muslimovic levelled matters just a minute later.

Franco Semioli scored his first league goal of the season to give the visitors the lead again on the hour mark when he headed home a cross from Swiss midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic.

But in the last minute Muslimovic slid home a dangerous low cross from Argentine Fernando Tissone from inside the six-yard box to keep alive Atalanta's UEFA Cup hopes.

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