Serie A Week 28 - 19 Mar 2012 (19.45 UK)
Roma 1 - 0 Genoa
Osvaldo 3 (R)
Stadio Olimpico

A quick start by Roma caught Genoa unawares in defence to prove ultimately decisive on Monday night, but Rodrigo Palacio will rue his miss.

Luis Enrique and Pasquale Marino both made three changes each to their starting line-ups, ahead of this Monday night meeting.

The Giallorossi were without the injured Francesco Totti after he was ruled out with a thigh problem picked up last week, and without Miralem Pjanic and Marco Cassetti, who are also on the treatment table.

Pablo Daniel Osvaldo returned from suspension in place of Totti, whilst Rodrigo Taddei reclaimed the right-back position from Aleandro Rosi and Maarten Stekelenburg between the sticks from Bogdan Lobont.

Genoa were without the injured pair of Juraj Kucka and Kevin Constant. Kucka, Bosko Jankovic and Giuseppe Sculli all dropped out of the team that faced Juventus last weekend, with Giandomenico Mesto, Fernando Belluschi and Miguel Veloso all coming in.

Genoa started brightly and almost presented Alberto Gilardino with an opportunity inside the opening minute, but for a late interception. Seconds later, Biondini disappointingly swung wide an effort after a neat exchange of passes between his teammates had set him up on the edge of the Giallorosso penalty area.

However, it was Roma who took the lead inside three minutes, when Osvaldo collected from a long pass into the area from Leandro Greco. Inside the area, the Argentine-born Italian turned on to his right foot to move the ball past Marco Rossi and unleash a low shot underneath Sebastien Frey.

Minutes later, Osvaldo attempted a venomous overhead kick that for Kakha Kaladze’s stern resistance would have tested Frey from 12 yards out.

Rodrigo Palacio worked an opening for himself to earn a corner from a shot at goal after Taddei and Simon Kjaer failed to deal with the Argentine’s persistence for the ball on the edge of their penalty area.

Midway through the half, a quick move down the pitch saw both Fabio Borini and Erik Lamela fail to break through the retreating Genoa back-line, but Greco connect with a rebound from that to force a strong save from Frey. From the resulting corner, Kjaer blasted over from 16 yards out.

Soon after, Osvaldo broke the offside trap from a long ball from Taddei, but pulled his shot wide of the goal for what was a great chance to double the home side’s lead. A third of the way through the game, the striker drove the ball over the bar from the edge of the area after again working space for the shot well.

Greco drew the criticism of Genoa’s defenders for a  penalty appeal, falling to the ground after a run into the box. Those were waved away and immediately on the break the Grifone could have equalised, when a low cross into the box saw Belluschi slide from six yards out, only for his effort to go straight into Stekelenburg’s arms.

At the other end, a passing move from Roma saw De Rossi test Frey with a long range effort, with the Frenchman forced to rebound the low, swerving effort back out into the penalty area.

Minutes before half-time, De Rossi was required to do some last-ditch defending, clearing in front of his own goal after a low Gilardino pass across the box represented something dangerous.

Mesto had a free header right on half-time that went straight into Stekelenburg’s arms.

Marino rearranged things at half-time, replacing Rossi with Jankovic and moving Mesto to right-back.

Lamela brought a quick reflex from Frey in the opening few minutes of the second half, pushing the ball past new right-back Mesto to test the Grifone’s ‘keeper at his near post. Soon after that, Borini disappointingly lofted a free-kick from a promising position into the sky.

A mis-judged Taddei clearance almost set up Gilardino in the Roma box, whilst a blocked effort from Veloso straight after appeared to catch De Rossi on the arm, but the referee waved play on against brief penalty appeals, indicating that De Rossi’s arms were down by his side, as replays backed up.

At the other end, Borini tried a cheeky chip from the edge of the area, but even if Frey was a few yards off his line he was untroubled in catching the attempt. The Rossoblu ‘keeper was then required to rush out to clear an Osvaldo through-ball that otherwise would have found substitute Bojan Krkic free on goal.

The young Spaniard soon had his first chance, after a De Rossi diagonal ball was chested up by the forward, only for his volley to launch across the goal to safety.

Soon after, Genoa’s Veloso forced Stekelenburg to tip a 25-yard effort over the bar for a corner.

Genoa’s best chance of the game fell to Palacio with 20 minutes left, but he was unable to convert. Substitute Cristobal Jorquera’s cross into the box wrong-footed the Roma defence, but where Palacio chested the ball down, his effort from six yards was too high and flicked off the top of the crossbar.

Some risky defending from Mesto saw him turn away from Bojan and back into his own penalty area, almost to set up Osvaldo for a quick-fire volley, but for a clearance to save the stand-in captain’s blushes.

Another long-range effort was invited by Genoa’s backing off, this time Marquinho with a dipping effort from the inside left of the pitch forcing Frey to tip it out for a corner. The resulting corner was drifted out to Bojan on the edge of the area, whose half-volley had Frey sprawling across the line and relieved to see the ball flash past the post wide. The former Barcelona man then had a deflected effort narrowly deflect high and wide.

With the Giallorossi growing anxious, Osvaldo had a late chance to put the game to rest, but he struck his shot from a cross straight at Frey, whilst Bojan soon after also forced another save from the ‘keeper.

Ultimately, Roma held on for the win.

Roma: Stekelenburg; Taddei, Kjaer, Heinze, Angel; Gago (Simplicio 87), De Rossi, Greco (Marquinho 74); Borini, Lamela (Bojan 59), Osvaldo
Genoa: Frey, Rossi (Jankovic 46), Carvalho, Kaladze, Moretti; Mesto, Veloso, Biondini; Belluschi (Jorquera 65); Gilardino, Palacio
Ref: Giannoccaro