dimanche 12 janvier 2014

 Alessandro Florenzi's perfectly-executed bicycle kick inspired second-placed AS Roma to a 4-0 win over Genoa in Serie A on Sunday although it did them little good as rampant leaders Juventus won their 11th league game in a row.

The defending champions survived a difficult opening half hour and had goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to thank as they came from behind to win 4-1 at Cagliari.

Cagliari forward Mauricio Pinilla scored and was later sent off for the Sardinians while Fernando Llorente scored twice for Juventus who have only dropped five points this season.

Third-placed Napoli also won comfortably, beating Hellas Verona 3-0 away with goals from Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Blerim Dzemaili.

Fiorentina, sorely missing Serie A topscorer Giuseppe Rossi with another knee injury, lost ground in a goalless draw at Torino.

At the halfway point in the championship, Juventus have 52 points from 19 games, Roma 44 and Napoli 42, while Fiorentina, still waiting for striker Mario Gomez to recover from a knee injury, are a further five behind in fourth.

Florenzi's opening 25th-minute goal for Roma, who lost their unbeaten league record at Juventus a week ago, was the day's highlight and not even the player seemed to believe it as he ran to the touchline with his hands on his head.

Genoa appeared to have survived the danger when a Francesco Totti free kick hit the wall but a defender lofted the ball into the area and Florenzi, with his back to goal, met it with a majestic overhead shot which went in off the foot of the post.

Roma stalwart Totti added the second with a deflected shot on the half hour, Maicon finished off a counter-attack two minutes before the break for the third and defender Mehdi Benatia completed the scoring early in the second half, the Moroccan's fifth goal of the season.

Genoa's misery was completed with a bizarre sending-off for midfielder Matuzalem, who was given a second yellow card for gesturing to Roma fans as he was being substituted.

His replacement Isaac Cofie, who had already run onto the pitch, had to be taken off, although the Ghanaian was brought on again four minutes later for Andrea Bertolacci.

Juventus fell behind when Pinilla scored from close range following a corner in the 21st minute and the visitors rode their luck as Buffon turned another effort by the Chilean around the post and Daniele Conti headed over the bar.

Llorente equalised when he headed in Stephan Lichtsteiner's cross in the 31st minute, then Buffon made another outstanding save to block Daniele Dessena's diving header.

Juventus settled the game in the last 20 minutes when Claudio Marchisio scored with a 25-metre shot, Llorente finished off a counter-attack and Lichtsteiner pounced on a blunder by goalkeeper Adrian Adan for the fourth.

It was all too much for Pinilla, who was sent off for dissent.
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