Edin Dzeko

Serie A: Lazio, Roma pick up important wins

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On a day when most Serie A cities were on edge as games were canceled over Coronavirus fears, two games were able to be played to their conclusion, with important results.

Ciro Immobile added another goal to his league-leading scoring mark as Lazio outlasted Genoa, 3-2, on the road. Immobile’s 51st minute goal was his 27th of the Serie A season, putting him six goals ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Lazio only needed two minutes to get on the board as Felipe Caicedo played a pass forward, which right back Adam Marusic latched onto. He then had defenders bouncing off him as he slalomed his way forward into the box and fired into the roof of the net. In transition six minutes into the second half, Immobile rifled a strike home to put Lazio up 2-0. Francesco Cassata’s golazo from the top of the box, a curling effort into the top corner, gave Genoa some life, though Lazio restored the two-goal advantage in the 71st minute through Danilo Cataldi.

Domenico Criscito scored a late penalty kick in second half stoppage time to bring Genoa within one goal again, but it was too little, too late from the hosts. With the win, Lazio keep the pressure on Juventus, sitting just one point behind the leaders on the same number of games played, 25.

Roma 4-0 Lecce

Roma returned to winning ways on Sunday with a crucial 4-0 rout of Lecce at the Stadio Olimpico.

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Coming off three straight defeats and a draw in Serie A action, it was one of the young guns, who’s had an up and down season this year, get Roma first on the board. Outside of Turkish winger Cenkiz Under, it was veterans Edin Dzeko and Henrik Mkhitaryan who stole the show.

In the 13th minute, Mkhitaryan sliced through the Lecce defense before feeding a short pass to the oncoming Under, who powered a strike past Mauro Vigorito for the game’s opening goal. In the 37th minute, Dzeko combined yet again with Mkhitaryan, finding the Armenian international running into the box before Mkhitaryan slotted home.

Dzeko then in the second half scored from close range to make it 3-0, and his former Manchester City teammate, Aleksandr Kolarov put the finishing touches on the rout with a blast from the left side of the box.

Thanks to the prior defeats, Roma currently sits outside of the UEFA Champions League slots, but the win on Sunday brought them within three points of Atalanta and the fourth and final Champions League place. However, Atalanta has a game-in-hand on Roma.

Serie A roundup: Pasalic’s instant impact lifts Atalanta past Roma (video)

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Atalanta’s come-from-behind victory against AS Roma highlights Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Atalanta 2-1 AS Roma

Mario Pasalic scored Atalanta’s winner seconds after taking the field as the home side rallied back against AS Roma 2-1 at Gewiss Stadium.

 

Gianpiero Gasperini consolidate their fourth-place standing in Serie A, going six points clear of Roma and moving eight points behind Lazio, who host top-of-the-table Inter Milan on Sunday.

“This is an important victory,” Atalanta coach Gasperini said. “Against a side like Roma this advantage is not definitive. They are a strong team, but in us there is the belief that we can finish in front.”

The victory proves to be a massive confidence booster for Atalanta ahead of their first Round of 16 Champions League bout in club’s history. La Dea host Valenica at the San Siro – not at their 21,300-seater home – midweek.

As the first 45 minutes came to an end, Edin Dzeko took advantage of Jose Luis Palomino’s blunder by rifling the ball past Pierluigi Golini. The Bosnian striker is the first Roma player to reach 10 goals this season.

Roma’s spirit-lifter would be nullified five minutes into the second half as Palomino made up for his error with a volley of his own to equal the scoreline.

Elsewhere in Serie A 

Lecce 2-1 SPAL

Bologna 0-3 Genoa

Serie A roundup: Ronaldo scores, Juventus go clear at top (video)

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Juventus’ crucial victory over AS Roma to go atop of Italy’s top-flight highlights Sunday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

AS Roma 1-2 Juventus 

Juventus are Italy’s winter champions.

The Bianconeri scored two goals opening 10 minutes as they surpassed Inter Milan and regained control of Serie A with a 2-1 win over AS Roma.

Defender Merih Demiral scored his first goal for the Old Lady by gently volleying Paulo Dybala’s service inside the box.

Six minuted later, the Argentine drew a penalty after dispossessing Jordan Veretout inside the box. Cristiano Ronaldo converted from the spot shortly after, increasing his count to nine goals in his last six league appearances.

“We played well for a good 60 minutes, and suffering at the Olimpico against Roma is almost inevitable,” the Maurizio Sarri told Sky Sport Italia following the match.

“What I did not like is that we tried to sit on our lead rather than increase it, as three times we had three-against-one counter-attacks and didn’t finish them off.

Juventus, in fact, spoiled precious chances to stretch their lead against a Roma, who also lost Italy international Nicolo Zaniolo to a reported ruptured ACL.

Diego Perotti converted from the spot in the second half, but Roma failed to earn the leveler before the final whistle blew. Edin Dzeko came close, but his strike struck the post.

A narrow offside decision annulled Gonzalo Higuain’s third goal for the visitors.

Juventus, who now lead Inter Milan by two points, host Udinese in the Coppa Italia Round of 16. Roma, on the other hand, travel to Parma in the same competition.

Elsewhere

Udinese 3-0 Sassuolo

Sampdoria 5-1 Brescia

Fiorentina 1-0 SPAL

Torino 1-0 Bologna

Verona 2-1 Genoa

Serie A Roundup: Roma pummel Brescia, move top four; Lazio edge Sassuolo (video)

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Inspired by Chris Smalling‘s career night, AS Roma’s dominant, 3-0 win over Brescia highlights Sunday’s Serie A action.

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Roma 3-0 Brescia

A two-time Premier League league winner, Smalling, 30, must have a long list of “memorable” games to choose from. But after scoring once and assisting twice against bottom-dwellers Brescia on Sunday, it can be said that the Englishmen might have topped the list.

On Sunday, the defender became the first English player to score at least two goals in a single Serie A season since David Beckham.

The Manchester United loanee opened the floodgates in the 49th minute, heading Lorenzo Pellegrini’s lofting corner into the back of the net. Just eight minutes later, Roma scored a second from a corner-kick. 

This time, Smalling – keeping tabs on the last Brescia defender – headed the ball downwards, rebounding and finding defender Gianluca Mancini’s right foot, which set up for a simple volley strike past Jesse Joronen

In the 66th minute, the defender’s header found a well-positioned Edin Dzeko for Roma’s third and final of the night.

Now fourth in the Italian top flight, Roma prepare for Istanbul Basaksehir on Thursday, while Brescia look for their league win in eight consecutive games against Atalanta.

Sassuolo 1-2 Lazio

With the game two minutes away from the final whistle, Lazio needed a miracle to comfortably remain in Serie A’s third spot.

Substitute Felipe Caicedo was just that, scoring I Biancocelesti’s game-winning goal in the first minute of stoppage time.

 

With the frustration of not getting a penalty call go their way minutes earlier, Luis Alberto and Caicedo paced past Sassuolo’s midfield and backline, combining with a set of back-and-forth passes. Inside the box, with position to shoot at goal, the Ecuadorian’s strike bounced over two, full-stretch defender and into the back of the net.

In the first half, Serie A top scorer, Ciro Immobile, added his 15th of the season, while the home side finished the first 45 minutes with a lot of hope, following captain’s Francesco Caputo’s tap-in.

Red-hot Lazio host CFR Cluj on Thursday in Europe League play, while Sassuolo prepare for their big game against Juventus on Sunday.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Bologna 2-2 Parma

Verona 1-0 Fiorentina

Sampdoria 2-1 Udinese

Discriminatory chants prompt suspension of Roma-Napoli game

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ROME — Discriminatory chants prompted a Serie A soccer game between Roma and Napoli to be briefly suspended Saturday.

Referee Gianluca Rocchi made the decision in the second half after Roma fans aimed anti-territorial chants – which are treated in the same manner as racist chants – at Napoli. The game resumed after a few minutes.

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Rocchi had already ordered an announcement to be made over the Stadio Olimpico’s public address system asking fans to stop the chants.

During the suspension, Rocchi gathered teams in the center circle, then Roma forward Edin Dzeko encouraged fans to applaud rather than jeer the opposition.

Roma led 2-0 at the time of the suspension before going on to win 2-1.

Italy’s top tier has been marred by several incidents of fan racism this season.