SERIE A MATCH REPORT

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Roma 1 - 0 Napoli
Pjanic 25 (R)
Stadio Olimpico

Miralem Pjanic gave Roma their first home win since November, but unlucky Napoli fall further behind the Champions League spots.

The Derby del Sole was a head-to-head for Champions League places, as six points separated second from fifth. The Partenopei were coming off three consecutive away defeats and a controversial 1-1 home draw with Atalanta. The Giallorossi were clinging to second place after a 1-0 win away to Cesena, but hadn’t won at the Olimpico since November.

Francesco Totti, Gervinho, Douglas Maicon, Seydou Keita, Salih Ucan and Kevin Strootman missed out, while Jorginho replaced suspended Gokhan Inler.

A Dries Mertens corner scraped the head of Miguel Angel Britos, who would’ve scored from six yards with better contact. There was a similar chance at the other end, Miralem Pjanic’s free kick whipping inches past Davide Astori and the far post.

Daniele De Rossi risked a second yellow card after just 16 minutes for a handling offence, but was given a warning.

Roma broke the deadlock with a well-worked goal, as Juan Manuel Iturbe spread down the right for Alessandro Florenzi, who pulled back for Pjanic to side-foot from 12 yards. The Napoli defence was all drawn to Iturbe, leaving his teammate unmarked. It was the Bosnian’s first goal since November 30, which was also the Giallorossi’s last home victory.

Mertens was eventually crowded out at the by-line after a great solo run, then Jose Callejon went on the counter and set up Jonathan de Guzman, forcing Kostas Manolas into a decisive sliding block. The ball also struck his arm, though if it hit his chest first then it cannot be considered a voluntary gesture.

Roma then went on the counter from the same move, Adem Ljajic blasting off target, while Gonzalo Higuain skimmed the far top corner with a curling effort.

Napoli started the second half with more fire, as Mertens forced two good saves from Morgan De Sanctis when bursting down the left flank, then the Belgian international curled just over the far top corner.

De Sanctis stuck up a hand to palm a fierce Manolo Gabbiadini volley out from under the bar, then the ex-Sampdoria striker’s finish was too central to beat the goalkeeper.

Lorenzo Insigne made his comeback after sustaining knee ligament damage back in November. It was all Napoli in the second half, though Roma could’ve doubled their lead when Iturbe dribbled round Mariano Andujar only to hit the side-netting.

It remained a siege deep into stoppages, but De Sanctis flew to pluck a dangerous cross out of the air after De Rossi lost possession inside the penalty area.

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Roma: De Sanctis; Torosidis, Manolas, Astori, Holebas (Yanga-Mbiwa 70); De Rossi, Pjanic (Paredes 68), Nainggolan; Florenzi (Ibarbo 79), Ljajic, Iturbe
Napoli: Andujar; Maggio, Albiol, Britos, Ghoulam; Jorginho, David Lopez; Callejon (Gabbiadini 61), De Guzman (Insigne 81), Mertens; Higuain (Duvan Zapata 76)
Ref: Rizzoli