ROME – Roma beat Napoli 1-0 on Saturday with a Miralem Pjanic goal to retain second place in the Italian Serie A.
Roma, which last won at home in late November, are now four points clear of city rivals Lazio that play later at Cagliari as they chase a second position that grants direct access to the Champions League.
Napoli are fifth on 47 points and occupy the last available Europa League berth.
Leaders Juventus, on 67 points, are 11 clear of Roma and close the 29th round at home to Empoli after eight other games.
“It was important to win this a game after the (1-0) win in Cesena to improve our standing, which unfortunately in the last three months was poor of results,’’ Roma goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis said.
“Winning before our public should make us proud, but it should be normal. Napoli played a great game, particularly in the second half.’’
At Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, Pjanic was unmarked when he fired low into the right corner on 25 minutes off an Alessandro Florenzi pass.
The game gathered speed after the Bosnian’s goal, but Napoli had no telling chances before the break.
Their pace improved as Dries Mertens produced a fast break on the left to see De Sanctis block his flick and parry a deflected cross on 57 minutes.
Manolo Gabbiadini came on for Napoli and volleyed to force a majestic save from De Sanctis, who had no problems when the striker fired straight at him with 12 minutes remaining.
Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan shot straight at goal and team-mate Juan Iturbe fired wide on a break two minutes from time. (dpa/NAN)
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