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Roma crushes Bologna 5-0 to return top of Serie A

September 29, 2013

MILAN (AP) — Roma maintained its perfect start to the season with a 5-0 win over Bologna to return to the top of Serie A on Sunday, while Juventus kept up the pressure on the capital side with a 1-0 victory in a heated derby at city rival Torino.

Roma is two points clear of Juventus and Napoli, with Inter Milan a further two points behind after it was held to a 1-1 draw at Cagliari.

Elsewhere, Sassuolo picked up a second point, coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 against high-flying Lazio, while striker German Denis tormented former club Udinese as his two goals gave Atalanta a controversial 2-0 win.

Also, it was: Catania 2, Chievo Verona 0; and Hellas Verona 2, Livorno 1.

“Our objective is still to get back into Europe and be up there with the other favorites like Napoli and Juventus in the final sprint,” Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. “We’ll see when we play against them. They are only two points behind, which is nothing.”

Roma had won all five of its games this season — for the first time in its history — but was yet to score in the first half. It corrected that failing after eight minutes.

Bologna goalkeeper Gianluca Curci parried Miralem Pjanic’s free kick but Alessandro Florenzi ran in to head into an empty goal.

Gervinho doubled Roma’s advantage 10 minutes later, dribbling forward past Mikael Antonsson and driving low inside the near post. And Mehdi Benatia added a third in the 25th with a stunning volley following a corner.

Gervinho, who had had a disappointing two seasons at Arsenal, fired in under the bar in the 62nd for his third goal in two games before substitute Adem Ljajic capped a fantastic night for Roma on his 22nd birthday.

“He is a lad who needs confidence and goalscoring opportunities, which don’t exist without him there,” Garcia added. “Of course he makes some mistakes, but if he plays and has a lot of chances, he scores.”

In Turin, Paul Pogba scored a contentious 54th-minute winner for Juventus, nodding in the rebound after Carlos Tevez’s header came off the crossbar. There were fierce protests from Torino, however, as Tevez appeared to be offside.

Torino had gone close in a scrappy first half, but Juventus dominated after scoring and never looked like conceding. Torino has not won the Derby della Mole since 1995, and hasn’t even scored in the past 15 editions.

Tevez injured his ankle in a nasty tackle by former Juventus striker Ciro Immobile, and his club says he is an injury doubt for Wednesday’s Champions League match against Galatasaray.

“They told me Tevez was offside. But it also has to be said that earlier we were unlucky because Immobile should have been sent off for the foul on Tevez,” Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. “Sometimes decisions are in your favor, sometimes not.

“Today there was one team that looked for the victory and then there was Torino, which sat back and waited, even after going a goal down. It’s a difficult league and our opponents change their whole approach to limit us rather than play their own football.”

Cagliari was still playing its home matches nearly 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away in Trieste due to ongoing stadium troubles in Sardinia.

Inter had several chances to take the lead but Cagliari was rescued by the heroics of goalkeeper Michael Agazzi, who pulled off impressive saves to deny Yuto Nagatomo, Fredy Guarin (twice) and Ishak Belfodil.

Belfodil had the best of those chances but headed straight at the goalkeeper from very close range and Agazzi was able to stop it with the help of his left upright.

Inter finally broke the deadlock in the 75th minute when Mauro Icardi headed in Nagatomo’s pass following a well-worked move.

However, Cagliari leveled five minutes from full time as a deflection off Rolando took Radja Nainggolan’s shot past a hapless Samir Handanovic.

Sassuolo had the worst attack and worst defense heading into the match against Lazio, with two goals scored and 16 conceded, but its first ever Serie A point — in a 1-1 draw at Napoli midweek — had given it confidence and the home side dominated the first half.

Lazio took the lead against the run of play five minutes after the interval when Andre Dias headed Antonio Candreva’s corner into the bottom left corner.

The capital side doubled its advantage four minutes later with a low, 25-yard (meter) shot from Candreva, but Ezequiel Schelotto immediately pulled one back for Sassuolo when he headed in Jasmin Kurtic’s corner.

Sassuolo leveled in the 76th when Antonio Floro Flores lifted a free kick over the wall. Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti got his hands to the ball but couldn’t prevent it from going in.

In Bergamo, Atalanta took the lead moments from halftime when a corner was nodded on for Denis to head in from close range.

Udinese thought it had been given the chance to level less than a minute into the second half when the referee signaled for a penalty after Guglielmo Stendardo pulled down Danilo.

Antonio Di Natale stepped up to the spot before the referee consulted with his assistant and canceled the penalty, because of an offside just before the foul.

Denis doubled Atalanta’s advantage in the 63rd, running onto a chipped ball over the defense from Luca Cigarini and slotting into the bottom right corner.

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