Totti and Higuain shine for Roma and Napoli

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 17, 2014 at 5:10 pm •  Published: March 17, 2014
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ROME (AP) — Francesco Totti scored the opener and Roma went on to beat Udinese 3-2 Monday to maintain its three-point lead over Napoli in the race for Italy's last direct Champions League spot.

Third-place Napoli had won earlier, with Gonzalo Higuain scoring a controversial goal in the 90th minute of a 1-0 victory at Torino.

The top two finishers in Serie A gain direct entry to the Champions League, while the third-place finisher goes into the last playoff round.

Napoli beat Roma 1-0 last weekend, although Roma beat its southern rival 2-0 in October and so holds the head-to-head edge. Roma also has a game in hand.

"We need to keep this pace until the end of the season," said Totti, who scored off a rebound from the center of the area in the 22nd.

It was Totti's sixth goal in 16 appearances this season and the 233rd of his Serie A career, second only to record-holder Silvio Piola's 274.

The 37-year-old Roma Totti had been out for a month due to a minor injury.

Mattia Destro added another for Roma in the 30th, dribbling by the goalkeeper and shooting into an empty net after collecting a pass from Gervinho.

Giampaolo Pinzi pulled one back for Udinese in the 51st with a long, angled shot and then Roma's Greece defender Vasilis Torosidis restored the two-goal lead in the 69th with a long left-footed effort that appeared to surprise the defense — perhaps because Torosidis usually favors his right foot, and is not known for his shooting skills.