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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: Belotti scores brace, Torino upsets Roma (video)

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Sunday’s Serie A action was marred by alleged racist abuse towards Brescia’s Mario Balotelli by traveling Lazio fans.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

AS Roma 0-2 Torino

Torino captain Andrea Belotti played hero for the visiting side as his two goals at the end of each half gave his mid-table side a crucial victory over fourth-placed AS Roma in Rome on Sunday.

The 26-year-old belted the ball into the roof of the net in first-half stoppage time and fired the ball past Pau Lopez from the spot, awarded after a lengthy VAR review for handball from Chris Smalling, in the 86th minute. 

With seven saves to his name, Salvatore Sirigu played a key role in Torino’s unexpected win.

Sirigu made a near-impossible, point-blank save save from Lorenzo Pellegrini in the second half. In the first half, Torino’s ‘keeper denied Aleksandar Kolarov in spectacular fashion, blocking the defender’s well-placed free-kick with his outstretched arms.

In addition to his two goals, Belotti squandered a pair of other chances to widen his goal count. Early on, the forward hit a routine, diagonal inside the box, only to be denied by the post.

Roma, who despite creating chances, played a lackluster game, hosts top-of-the-table Juventus, while Torino hosts Genoa in the Round of 16 of Coppa Italia on Thursday.

Elsewhere

Brescia 1-2 Lazio

SPAL 0-2 Verona

Genoa 2-1 Sassuolo

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.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

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

Serie A roundup: Roma hold off Napoli; Juventus remain leaders (video)

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Roma’s victory over Napoli highlight Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Roma 2-1 Napoli

On Saturday, at Stadio Olimpico, when Roma found themselves up 2-0 on Napoli, the game came to a pause. Referee Gianluca Rocchi made the decision to grab the ball and blow the whistle in the second half after Roma fans aimed racist chants at Napoli.

After a few minutes, the game resumed, and eventually, Hirving “Chucky” Lozano’s darting ball into the box would find Arkadiusz Milik, who extended his scoring run to four matches.

The first half had it all.

Nicolo Zaniolo opened the scoring, when his left-footed strike zoomed past Alex Meret and into the top-right corner of the goal. The 20-year-old has now scored three league goals in 11 matches. Shortly after, VAR granted Roma a penalty after concluding that Jose Callejon contacted the ball with his arm inside the box when pressured by Chris Smalling. Aleksandar Kolarov‘s penalty, however, was denied by Meret, who recorded four saves throughout the 90 minutes.

Napoli were persistent and came close several times. Giovanni di Lorenzo was denied at the goal line by a full-extended Smalling. In a matter of seconds, the visitor’s struck the woodwork twice, once by header from Milik, which was subsequently followed by a first-time volley from distance that also rattled the bar.

I Giallorossi would get a second chance from the spot in the second half. And this time they didn’t squander it.

Javier Pastore, who zipped through Napoli’s backline, saw his lofting cross crash into Fabian Ruiz’s arm. A penalty was awarded, and Jordan Veretout – on loan from Fiorentina – opened his Roma account, which ended up being the game-winning goal.

Up next for Roma, who moved to third and are only behind Inter Milan and Juventus, take on Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Europa League midweek. Napoli, on the other hand, host Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday and aim to remain perfect in Group E of the Champions League.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Tornio 0-1 Juventus

Bologna 1-2 Inter Milan

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.

[ MORE: Man City 2-1 Saints ]

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.