Mattia Destro scored the winner against his parent club as Milan threw Roma back into uncertainty with a surprise 2-1 triumph.
While the Giallorossi had clambered back into second place, the hosts had only pride and dignity to play for, particularly Roma-owned Mattia Destro. Jeremy Menez and Mattia De Sciglio were suspended, missing Alessio Cerci, Riccardo Montolivo and Michael Essien. Douglas Maicon, Leandro Castan and Kevin Strootman didn’t make the trip, but Francesco Totti was dropped again.
It was a shaky start, as within seconds Gervinho had skipped past Alex and Ignazio Abate risked an own goal with his interception. Daniele De Rossi then blasted over the bar, but Keisuke Honda forced Morgan De Sanctis into an acrobatic save after 13 minutes.
Kostas Manolas was unlucky not to open the scoring, as his header from an Alessandro Florenzi corner bounced off the far post with Diego Lopez scrambling across, then Davide Astori turned the rebound wide.
Gervinho pulled up during a sprint and had to be replaced by Adem Ljajic, who has had injury problems of his own recently.
De Sanctis again showed spectacular reflexes, flying to palm a Jack Bonaventura header out from under the bar.
Milan broke the deadlock with five minutes to go, as Honda got away down the right and rolled across, where Van Ginkel was in front of Radja Nainggolan to side-foot home from six yards. It was the Chelsea-owned midfielder’s debut Serie A strike.
Alessandro Florenzi’s volley was spectacular, but wide of the far post, so Milan doubled their lead instead. Honda stood up a lovely cross almost from the corner flag and Destro powered home the header against his old club, anticipating Astori. Milan are not expected to take up their option on him, so the striker is likely to head back to the Olimpico this summer, but he still managed to break his seven-round goal drought.
It was almost 3-0, as Andrea Poli just failed to reach a great Honda counter-attack, then Bonaventura kept the move alive to thrash his angled drive across the face of goal.
Florenzi was booked and will be suspended against Udinese, while the hosts lost Luca Antonelli to a groin strain.
Roma were given a way back into the game when Juan Manuel Iturbe burst between Alex and Nigel de Jong. The penalty decision was made by one of the assistants, though it’s not clear which of the two challenges was at fault. In any case, Francesco Totti stepped up to convert a poor spot-kick, as it squirmed under Diego Lopez’s body. The veteran had only been on the field for three minutes and scored his 298th goal in a Roma jersey.
The tide turned suddenly, as Milan were visibly nervous at losing their lead and the visitors poured forward. Iturbe’s fierce left-foot strike was palmed round the base of the near post by Diego Lopez, then Totti’s powerful but central free kick was smothered.
The tension got to Pippo Inzaghi, who was sent off for dissent in stoppages.