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.
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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.
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)
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.