On the sunny afternoon of June 17th, 2001, at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, the Rome and Parma football teams were locked in an epic struggle. If Rome won the Italian Championship, it would be their third win in 74 years. The ninety-ninth Series A round began on October 1st, 2000. The defending champions were their rivals, Lazio, the other football team based in Rome. Despite Lazio’s continued success on the field, Rome’s team President Franco decided to spend a lot of money in the off-season. He picked up
Brazilian midfielder, Emerson, and the talented Japanese player, Hidetoshi Nakata. Remarkably, Sensi was even able to lure, Argentinian striker, Gabriel Batistuta from Fiorentina. Coach Fabio Capello was back on the bench for another year, as well as team captain Francesco Totti, the undisputed champion of Rome. The first game was Rome-vs-Bologna. The first half of the game was disappointing, and Lazio’s continued dominance in the sport inspired some “boos” and catcalls from the Rome supporters in the crowd. But Totti gave a jolt to his team with a winning header in the second minute of the second half. Rome kept this pace up, game after game, including in their victories against Milan and Inter Milan. In addition the “Giallorossi”, as they were nicknamed, made the match 1 to 0, with a spectacular goal against Lazio. At the halfway point of the winter season, Rome was six places ahead of Juventus and Lazio was now in second place.
After being 9 up on Juventus, the city of Rome braced itself for a long bout of heavy fog. Six days before the end of the round, the “Giallorossi” arrived at the Stadio delle Alpi with six wins under their belt. The upcoming Juventus -vs- Rome game, therefore, became a crucial match. 6 minutes into the match, Rome was down by two goals and it seemed like all hope was lost. 34 minutes into the match, however, Nakata scored a goal and reenergized the team. After the first minute of recovery, Vincenzo Montella scored against the clumsy, Juventus goalkeeper, Van der Saar. The end result was 2 to 2. By the last day of the round and after two consecutive ties, Rome was now only 2 points ahead of Juve. Next up was a home game against Atalanta. The only way for Rome to move ahead was with a victory against Parma. The “trio of wonders”, Totti, Montella and Bastituta, went to work in the final and sealed the victory with a score of 3 to 1. Rome was now the Italian champion, after 18 years in second place behind local rivals
Lazio. This would be the only title won by President Sensi, who died in August 2008.