MODENA, April 18 (Serie A) - Second-placed Roma climbed closer to leaders AC Milan to keep their slim Scudetto hopes alive after Italy star Francesco Totti grabbed a second-half winner at the Stadio Alberto Braglia.
Neither side could have afforded to drop points coming into the game. Modena are fighting a less glamorous battle - against the threat of relegation - but they could not be underestimated by Fabio Capello's men after recently holding Milan to a draw.
Roma were without the suspended Olivier Dacourt and Emerson, while Totti was making a return to action to partner Antonio Cassano in attack after missing last weekend's 3-1 triumph over Chievo due to suspension.
The home team welcomed back striker Fabio Vignaroli, who was suspended last weekend, as well as striker Dioumansy Kamara.
The visitors started in bright fashion, going close when Totti fired a fifth-minute free-kick just wide of the left post.
Totti once again went close for Roma 10 minutes prior to the interval with a header, forcing a good save from home goalkeeper Adriano Zancope who did well to dive to his right to deny the Roma captain.
The home side's first real chance on goal came through Vignoroli six minutes prior to the break but his free-kick was cleared by the visiting defence.
The deadlock was broken 10 minutes after the re-start. Totti's shot flashed past Zancope who was powerless to stop the ball finding the back of the net.
Totti continued to dominate proceedings, shaving the post with a 65th-minute effort, although moments later Kamara unleashed a violent shot for the hosts which clipped the right-hand post.
The Roma skipper had the last decent effort of the game, hitting the post with an 86th-minute free-kick from 30 yards, although it is debatable as to whether a goal would have stood as Antonio Cassano had drifted offside.