Serie A: Fiorentina to test Roma's mettle

September 24, 2007

ROME, Sept 24 (Reuters) - AS Roma visit Fiorentina on Wednesday for the second of four matches in 10 days that will show the Serie A leaders how credible their domestic and European ambitions are.

The trip to Tuscany comes before Saturday's home game against champions Inter Milan and next week's visit to English title-holders Manchester United in the Champions League.

Roma, last season's runners up, lost their 100 percent record in the first of the four big tests on Sunday when Vincenzo Iaquinta's late header earned Juventus a 2-2 draw.

Nevertheless, Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said he was proud of another convincing performance and will take heart from the form of captain Francesco Totti, who struck twice on Sunday and has scored five times in the last four games.

Fiorentina are in fine fettle too after beating Catania 1-0 on Sunday thanks to Adrian Mutu's third league goal of the season.

The home side have eight points from four games, two points fewer than Roma, who they will leapfrog in the standings if they win.

Fiorentina midfielder Riccardo Montolivo said his team mates are relishing the challenge.

'We have been waiting for this match against Roma for a long time,' Montolivo told Fiorentina's website. 'It will be beautiful to play against them'.

Inter, who also have eight points, will be looking to put a bad week behind them against Sampdoria at the San Siro.

The champions were held 2-2 by basement club Livorno on Sunday and lost their Champions League opener 1-0 to Fenerbahce in Istanbul last Wednesday.

Inter coach Roberto Mancini will be without Brazilian defender Maicon, who was sent off at Livorno.

Cristian Chivu and Marco Materazzi also miss out through long-term injuries and Patrick Vieira is doubtful because of a hamstring problem.

Atalanta, another team on eight points and in striking distance of the top spot after their 2-1 home win over Lazio, visit Siena.

Juventus, sixth with seven points, host Reggina without suspended French defender Jonathan Zebina and Portuguese centre back Jorge Andrade, who is set for a long spell on the sidelines after breaking his kneecap at Roma.

European champions AC Milan, ninth with six points, are seeking to end a run of three consecutive league draws with a win at Palermo.