Roma stays on Juve trail with Genoan own goal

Roma had managed to keep the pressure on Serie A table leaders Juventus by beating Genoa 1-0 at the Marassi – but needed a first-half own goal from Armando Izzo to finish the job.

With Giallorossi last victory outside of Rome being in last October, Luciano Spalletti’s side started the day four points behind Juve, and was without forward Mohamed Salah, who was playing in the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt.

They needed Wojciech Szczesny to make a good early save from Diego Laxalt.

Genoa then lost keeper Mattia Perin to injury, as he made a brilliant reaction stop to deny Roma’s top scorer Edin Dzeko. It brought more frustration for the goalkeeper, who was making his first start since returning from suspension after being sent off against Palermo.

Things went from bad to worse when Genoa fell behind, with Izzo diverting in a Bruno Peres shot into his own net.

It was the defender’s second Serie A own goal of the season, having also scored a winner at the wrong end when Genoa lost to city rivals Sampdoria in October.

Later in the day, Juventus cruised to a 3-0 victory – an almost routine dismantling of Bologna on Sunday night.

Roma’s narrow but vital victory at Genoa had slashed the gap to first place to a single point earlier in the day, but Massimiliano Allegri’s men are once again four points out in front with a game in hand – on again displaying their scudetto credentials.

Gonzalo Higuain drilled Juve ahead with a wonderful volley from Miralem Pjanic’s clip over the away defence, while Paulo Dybala doubled their lead shortly before half-time, drilling in a penalty after Bologna’s Marios Oikonomou clumsily bundled over Stefano Sturaro.

Higuain then completed the scoring as he nodded Stephan Lichtsteiner’s right-wing cross in after the break.


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