Italian Serie A Roundup, Nov. 7
Marco Borriello and Mirko Vucinic converted penalties as AS Roma beat Serie A leader Lazio 2-0 Sunday in a contentious derby, with Lazio protesting it was denied a penalty that could have led to an equalizer.
Each side also hit the woodwork in an entertaining match at the Stadio Olimpico that wasn't decided until the final five minutes.
It was Lazio's second loss of the season and it cut the Roman club's lead to two points following AC Milan's 3-2 win over Bari, with the Rossoneri getting goals from Massimo Ambrosini, Mathieu Flamini and Alexandre Pato.
Lazio has 22 points, Milan has 20 and five-time defending champion Inter Milan has 19 following its 1-1 draw with Brescia on Saturday.
Juventus and Napoli, which both won, are tied for fourth with 18 points each.
Juventus beat 10-man Cesena 3-1 with goals from Alessandro Del Piero, Fabio Quagliarella and Vincenzo Iaquinta and Edinson Cavani scored both goals in Napoli's 2-0 win over Parma, tying Inter's Samuel Eto'o for the league scoring lead with eight goals each.
With Roma ahead 1-0, fullback John Arne Riise appeared to pull down Stefano Mauri directly in front of the goal just as the Lazio midfielder was about to receive the ball following a free kick, but no foul was given.
"This derby was a bit determined by a few episodes," Lazio coach Edy Reja said. "There was no doubt it was a foul on Mauri. And before the second penalty there was a foul by Roma that was not called."
However, replays showed that Lazio was offside before Riise's alleged foul, although that was not called either. Roma also had a goal in the first half annulled for an extremely close offside call.
"I think the referee used the same judgment he used on all of our free kicks. There were a lot of fouls on us that went uncalled, too," Roma coach Claudio Ranieri said.
"It was a difficult game considering all the players we were missing," Ranieri added, referring to suspended captain Francesco Totti and injuries to Juan and Rodrigo Taddei. "But we played very intelligently tactically and I'm very pleased. We played a great game and it was a great derby."
Borriello's penalty in the 52nd minute was nearly saved by Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, who got his body on the ball but couldn't prevent it from trickling in. The penalty was whistled for a hand ball by Lazio defender Stephan Lichtensteiner, who was attempting to stop a shot from Fabio Simplicio, who then hit the crossbar in the 77th.
After Riise's apparent penalty, Muslera dove to push wide a shot from Vucinic in the 80th and Lazio's Pasquale Foggia hit the post in the 84th.
In the 86th, Roma earned another penalty when Andre Dias tripped Julio Baptista and Vucinic had no trouble with his ensuing spot kick.
Vucinic accounted for both goals when Roma beat Lazio 2-1 in April and the Giallorossi also won the opening derby last season, while Lazio hasn't come out on top since a 4-2 victory in April, 2009.
There were several reports of violence at the derby, with one fan injured with a knife wound. Another fan reportedly lost a finger when he tried to scale a wall to get into the stadium, and groups of fans clashed with police after the match.
In Sunday's late match, Mauricio Pinilla scored in the 42nd following an assist from Javier Pastore and Palermo beat Genoa 1-0.
Elsewhere, Daniele Conti gave Cagliari an early lead but Antonio Floro Flores equalized just before halftime in a 1-1 draw, while Sampdoria drew 0-0 at home with Catania in its second consecutive league match without Antonio Cassano, who is being punished for a run in with Sampdoria president Riccardo Garrone
Earlier, Alessio Cerci came off the bench and scored his first Serie A goal in the 80th minute to lead Fiorentina to a 1-0 win over Chievo Verona. Fiorentina had a rough start to the season but has now gained seven points in its last three matches to move into the middle of the table with 12 points, two behind Chievo.
Seven minutes after he came on, Cerci pounced on a rebound from a shot by Alberto Gilardino following a cross from Adrian Mutu, who was playing his second match after a nine-month doping ban.
Cerci then hit the post in injury time at Florence's Artemio Franchi stadium.