Francesco Totti became Serie A’s second all-time top scorer and Alessio Romagnoli netted his first as Roma pushed past Genoa 3-1.
The Giallorossi welcomed back Totti and Daniele De Rossi from suspension, but Marquinhos joined Leandro Castan and Mattia Destro on the injury list, so 18-year-old Romagnoli made his full Serie A debut. Genoa were still unbeaten under Davide Ballardini, but Andreas Granqvist and Francelino Matuzalem sat out bans with Marco Rossi, Antonio Floro Flores, Ruben Olivera and Thomas Manfredini injured.
Roma had won the last six consecutive editions of this Serie A fixture at the Stadio Olimpico, but Genoa started confidently and Juraj Kucka’s screamer was palmed round the base of the near post by Maarten Stekelenburg.
Vasilis Torosidis volleyed a ball across the face of goal, but none of his teammates were ready to tap in.
De Rossi earned a penalty when he went on a smart solo run and appeared to run into Cesare Bovo’s knee just inside the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Totti stepped up to convert. It was his 225th Serie A goal, putting him on a par with Gunnar Nordahl as the joint second all-time scorer.
From a corner, Bovo volleyed just over the bar and Genoa notched up a series of corners, then Marco Borriello chipped up a pass for Andrea Bertolacci’s header brilliantly fingertipped out from under the bar by Stekelenburg.
The Dutch goalkeeper was again decisive on the resulting corner, at full stretch to block a Bertolacci ricochet off Nicolas Burdisso right on the line.
Miralem Pjanic turned his left ankle very badly and was clearly in agony, carried off the field to make way for Michael Bradley.
From another Genoa corner, Daniele Portanova’s header was charged down from point-blank range, then a Daniel Tozser free kick was well worked until desperately scramled clear.
The pressure paid off, as before half-time Burdisso completely mistimed his sliding tackle to take down Borriello for a penalty. Borriello took the kick and converted it coolly against his former club, firing into the near bottom corner.
The Grifone kept on pushing with 11 corners in the first half to Roma’s none, but Federico Balzaretti wasted a chance on the counter with a misplaced lob.
Erik Lamela was booked for simulation after the restart, while Pablo Daniel Osvaldo hit a fresh-air volley at the back post when he just needed to keep it on target. Lamela went on a fantastic run, skipping past three players before Bovo deflected the finish just wide of the near post.
From that corner, Romagnoli got his first Serie A goal on his full debut. The 18-year-old got his head to the corner from four yards, as Sebastien Frey completely mistimed the intervention. The teen was buried in hugs from his pleased teammates, as Romagnoli grew up through the Roma youth academy. Curiously, Romagnoli wasn’t even born when Totti got the first of those 225 Serie A goals.
Genoa made two attacking substitutions with Ciro Immobile and Cristobal Jorquera coming on, but Osvaldo shook off Emiliano Moretti only to dink the finish wide. Immobile’s blushes were saved by the offside flag, as he ballooned over the bar from a smart through ball.
Immobile was causing all sorts of problems and saw a shot charged down, then the follow-up palmed round the post by Stekelenburg. Osvaldo went down in the box, but the referee waved play on as Portanova’s sliding tackle was clean. There was a bizarre incident, as Ballardini was sent off for dissent when he had actually been shouting at his own players to put the ball out of play as Osvaldo was injured.
From another Genoa corner, Kucka cut in to commit the defender and his fierce strike stung Stekelenburg’s palms. Moments later, Kucka and Totti were both booked for getting into a scuffle, but it was the Genoa midfielder’s second yellow.
Roma put the points under lock and key with a sensational goal from veteran Simone Perrotta. The midfielder exchanged passes with Totti to smash under the bar from six yards.
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Sent off: Kucka 78 (G)