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Roma beat Verona to close in on Juventus

English.news.cn   2014-01-27 12:35:15

ROME, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Roma capitalised on Juventus' slip-up with a win at Verona, while AC Milan scored two late goals to beat Cagliari 2-1 on Sunday.

Roma did not waste the chance arising from Juventus' 1-1 draw at Lazio on Saturday as they held off Verona 3-1 to narrow the gap between them and Juventus to six points.

Adem Ljajic opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time before Emil Hallfredsson equalised for Verona in the 49th minute.

Roma made it 2-1 on the hour mark through Gervinho, who scored the winner against Juventus in Roma's 1-0 Coppa Italia quarterfinal win on Tuesday. And Francesco Totti sealed the victory for the hosts with a penalty-kick eight minutes before the end.

Roma head coach Rudi Garcia was happy that his side seized the chance to chase Juventus.

"We knew this was an important opportunity to take points off Napoli and Juve, so we made the most of it," he said.

"We saw during the week in the Coppa Italia that Juve are not unbeatable. Our destiny is not in our hands, but we must be ready to take advantage of their slip-ups and that's what we did today," he said.

AC Milan turned the table about in the last three minutes to win 2-1 at Cagliari.

The hosts looked on course for their first victory against Milan since 1998 after Marco Sau's clever finish in the 28th minute.

With three minutes left, Mario Balotelli stepped up to curl in an excellent free-kick.

Giampaolo Pazzini, introduced as a substitute for Robinho on the hour-mark, hooked in Keisuke Honda's corner in the 89th minute, as his first league goal of the season gave Milan back-to-back Serie A wins for the first time this season.

AC Milan newly-appointed Clarence Seedorf said his side rediscovered their mental strength and courage in the win over Cagliari.

"I am very, very happy for the lads, as it was important for morale to get a victory this way," he said.

"We should've scored at least once in the first half and being behind brought out our team spirit. That spirit is the base for everything else," he said.

Milan's cross-city rival Inter were still struggling as they could only manage a 0-0 draw with rock-bottom Catania at San Siro.

Diego Milito went close in the first half for Inter, but their lack of creativity and cutting edge was nearly punished twice by Catania's Gonzalo Bergessio after the break.

Inter head coach Walter Mazzarri blamed his side's "goal drought" on the supporters' lack of enthusiasm.

"These players are not accustomed to certain pressures and felt the lack of enthusiasm in the stands, as it almost felt as if we were playing in an empty stadium," he said.

Fiorentina were held to 3-3 by Genoa to miss the chance to close within one point of the fourth-placed Napoli.

Other results on Sunday saw Bologna climb out of the bottom three thanks to a last-gasp 1-1 draw at Sampdoria.

Alessandro Diamanti's injury-time penalty secured a point for Bologna, after Manolo Gabbiadini put the hosts ahead in the 62nd minute.

Editor: Zhu Ningzhu
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