Roma closed to within a point of Serie A leaders Juventus by ending Genoa's nine-match unbeaten stand with a 1-0 victory at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. The hosts suffered an early setback when goalkeeper Mattia Perin was dismissed for a professional foul but his replacement Eugenio Lamanna saved Adem Ljajic's penalty with his first touch. Radja Nainggolan then scored the only goal of the game yet, while Roma went on to dominate the remaining hour, they were lucky that Tomas Rincon's last-gasp goal was ruled out for offside. With Juve dropping points from Sunday's draw with Sampdoria, Roma were able to seriously slash the reigning champions' advantage. Ambitious Genoa, meanwhile, slipped to fifth courtesy of their first defeat since September. Desperate to atone for their Champions League elimination by Manchester City at the earliest opportunity, Roma poured forward in the opening exchanges and might have scored in the ninth minute. Gervinho did brilliantly to skip past Nicolas Burdisso on the right side of the box but, having picked out the well-placed Ljajic, the Serbian passed to Alessandro Florenzi instead of shooting. The Giallorossi soon went even closer after Gervinho and Ljajic's clever one-two sent the Ivorian into a one-on-one with Perin. The young keeper somehow managed to cover Gervinho's close-range shot before rising to smother Miralem Pjanic's stab at the rebound. Perin's double save would be his last positive contribution, however, as he saw red on 29 minutes. Nainggolan looked set to turn Pjanic's pass home when he was felled by the Genoa keeper and, after referee Luca Banti ordered him off the pitch, Ljajic stepped up to take the resultant penalty. Facing him was former Como stopper Lamanna, who was charged with making an instant impact on his long-awaited Genoa debut. And his first feel of the ball was a vital one as he dived low to punch Ljajic's spot-kick to safety. Nainggolan would not let him celebrate for too long, though, the Belgian firing Roma ahead from an acrobatic connection with Maicon's pinpoint cross in the 40th minute. Roma might have made it 2-0 just before the break but Ljajic could only flick the ball over the bar and, at the other end, Alessandro Matri saw his low drive smothered by Morgan de Sanctis. It was not until the hour mark that Lamanna was threatened again – the 25-year-old got down well to gather Ljajic's snapshot from six yards out. The always-lively Gervinho seemed poised to double Roma's lead in the 71st minute after exploiting Facundo Roncaglia's mistake, but his curling right-footed effort bounced off the far post and went out. With time slipping away Genoa boss Gian Piero Gasperini introduced an extra forward in the shape of Mauricio Pinilla, yet the hosts were too busy trying to contain Roma to carve out any chances. Pjanic steered a first-time shot wide of the post in the 85th minute and moments later Florenzi found Juan Iturbe in an excellent scoring position. The Argentinian may have headed the cross just over the bar, but it looked like Roma had done enough to secure all three points. They would, therefore, breathe a collective sigh of relief as Rincon's conversion of Burdisso's header forward in the last knockings of stoppage time was ruled out by Banti.
Football SERIE A