Friday Kickoff: AS Roma set Serie A record; Bender extends with Leverkusen; and more

Soccer: Serie A; Roma-Chievo

By DAN KARELL

Even without the talismanic Francesco Totti, AS Roma continue to win.

Rudi Garcia’s side won their tenth match in a row on Thursday, defeating Chievo, 1-0, in a tight match at home. The ten wins to start a season is a new record in Serie A. Roma now sit five points clear of Napoli and Juventus at the top of the table.

Marco Borriello, who hadn’t scored for Roma since 2011 after spending last season on loan with Genoa, scored the game-winning-goal in the 67th minute on a close range header that he guided into the far corner off a cross from substitute Alessandro Florenzi. Borriello was starting in place of the injured Totti, who won’t be back for at least one month, and normal-starter Florenzi had come on the field eight minutes prior to delivering the pass that Borriello directed across the line.

“I had said it would be a difficult match and I wasn’t wrong,” said Garcia, the first-year Roma head coach after the match. “We’re missing some key players in attack but the important thing was to win, make it 10 out of 10.”

Next up for Roma is a trip to face Torino on Sunday.

Here are some more stories to start your Friday: 

BENDER EXTENDS CONTRACT WITH BAYER LEVERKUSEN

Despite being the subject of a number of transfer rumors last summer, Lars Bender has decided that he’d rather stay with Bayer Leverkusen.

The club announced on Thursday evening that Bender has signed a new contract with the club through 2019, extending a deal that was already running through 2017. The 24-year-old has made 115 Bundesliga appearances for Leverkusen since moving there from 1860 Munich in 2009 and is a regular call up when fit for the German National Team.

“There has been a very positive development here at Bayer Leverkusen in the past few years,” Bender said in a statement. “Our team is strong and has the potential to improve even further. I want to be part of that story and make my own contribution to ensuring we can become an obvious and permanent member of the leading group. I feel really good at this club and it’s great fun playing here”

Bender recently returned to full training after missing three weeks with a thigh injury. This season, the holding midfielder has scored once in 11 appearances in all competitions.

ATLETICO ONE POINT BACK OF BARCELONA AFTER WIN

Atletico Madrid kept pace with Barcelona near the top of the La Liga table with a 2-1 win at Granada.

Diego Costa, recently a pledge to play for the Spanish National Team, scored his 12th goal in 11 matches on a penalty kick to give Atletico the lead in the 38th minute, before veteran La Roja forward David Villa scored a penalty kick goal of his own in the 78th minute. Odion Ighalo hit one back for Granada in the 90th minute but the hosts ran out of time.

The win keeps Atletico just one point behind Barcelona in the table at 30 points, while they also hold a five-point lead in second place ahead of city rivals Real Madrid.

QUICK KICKS

Bayern Munich left back David Alaba was named Austrian Sportsman of the Year. (REPORT)

France Prime Minister Francois Hollande said that he will go forward with his controversial 75 percent tax on earners of one million euros or more, something that the French league clubs have warned they will strike over. (REPORT)

On-loan Everton forward Romelu Lukaku has admitted that it was his decision to leave Chelsea to go on loan somewhere and prove himself to Jose Mourinho. (REPORT)

Diego Godin has signed a new contract with Atletico Madrid through 2018. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Roma continuing to win? Do you see Bender staying through the length of the contract?

Share your thoughts below.

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18 Responses to Friday Kickoff: AS Roma set Serie A record; Bender extends with Leverkusen; and more

  1. froboy says:

    I know everything doesn’t have to be US centric, but when talking Roma it helps to talk about Bradley! For anyone curious I looked up the boxscore and he came in the game in the 81st minute.

    • Nihal says:

      He had a couple of really good touches!

    • Nate Dollars says:

      will be interesting to see if he starts on sunday. assuming garcia rests any of the mids, it’ll be a sign of where bradley is in the depth charts.

      • danny says:

        At this point, I think it’s pretty clear, he is the 4th guy in a starting 3 man midfield (DDR, Strootman, Pjanic). I could very well see him starting though on Sunday in order to rest others. Depending on the tactics Roma chooses to play, I could see him starting in the midfield if Pjanic get’s moved to straight attacking role. But given how well Roma is doing and the quality of those three starters, it will be very hard for Bradley to displace one of those guys as an everyday starter. That’s not a knock on Bradley as this is probably one of the top midfields in Europe.

        • beto says:

          +1 thanks for the MB scoop everyone here!

          4th CM in that group isn’t the worst place to be. I know consistent PT is the most important thing but he is likely to keep getting inconsistent PT off the bench and in random games during busy times it might be worthwhile.

          the only thing that is troubling is that he Strootman, Pjanic are both 23 and DDR is 30.. might be a while until this midfield trifecta is broken up…

          • Eurosnob says:

            DDR almost left Roma last year, but decided to stay because he did not want his last game be the painful loss against Lazio, their archrival. I expect that he will move to another league after the end of this season.

            • danny says:

              Also, ManU has reportedly made a big offer for Pjanic.

              • Joamiq says:

                The problem is that if either DDR or Pjanic move, Roma will be expected to make a big replacement signing, so I’m not sure that either one moving on would open a spot for Bradley. I think fighting for minutes on the current squad is fine, but he may want to make a move after the WC.

        • AlexH says:

          4th in a 3 man MF is perfect. He’ll get enough PT to keep him fit but not enough to wear him out for the WC.

    • mike says:

      I agree! In a site where readers have demanded regular national team updates I want to know what role Bradley played, if any. Yes, every single time!

    • Joamiq says:

      Yeah, I get that it’s a general news blurb, but when it comes to Roma, 99% of people on this site want to know first and foremost about Bradley.

  2. Sly says:

    Imagine if Liverpool had been able to sign diego costa during the transfer for only 20 mil. what would their front line be like.

  3. chuck says:

    probably all matches fixed.

  4. byob el paso tx says:

    lukaku, come to NYCFC as a DP. He would burn eveybody!!!!!!

    • beto says:

      by then he will be a Chelsea regular. I am surprised they let him go on loan two times to EPL clubs and that he isn’t already in Chelsea’s top 2 or 3 CF’s

  5. Increase says:

    Heh, Bender.

    They are both quite good though.

  6. beto says:

    in other news Sven Bender is nominated for the bundesliga name of the year.