Serie A: AS Roma close in on Juventus with win over Crotone

AS Roma moved back ahead of Napoli into second place, four points behind Italian leader Juventus, which visits Cagliari later.

By: Reuters | Updated: February 12, 2017 9:50:42 pm

Roma's Edin Dzeko, center, celebrates with his teammates Emerson, right, and Radja Nainggolan after scoring against Crotone during an Italian Serie A soccer match in Crotone, Italy, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. Roma won 2-0. (Albano Angilletta/ANSA via AP) Edin Dzeko had missed a penalty in the first half. (Source: AP)

Edin Dzeko finally found the target after missing a penalty and hitting the crossbar in Roma’s 2-0 win at relegation-threatened Crotone in Serie A on Sunday.

Radja Nainggolan opened the scoring in the 40th minute, then Dzeko finished from close range in the 77th to raise his league-leading tally to 18 goals.

Roma moved back ahead of Napoli into second place, four points behind Italian leader Juventus, which visits Cagliari later. Napoli beat Genoa 2-0 on Friday.

It was only the sixth win in 13 away matches for Roma, which has won all 11 of its home fixtures.

Shortly after the quarter-hour mark, Mohamed Salah was pushed down inside the area to set up Dzeko’s penalty. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international hesitated to see which way goalkeeper Alex Cordaz went but then kicked a low shot wide of the goal in the same direction.

It was Dzeko’s second miss from the penalty spot this season _ most in Serie A.

“It happens. It’s nothing serious but I won’t be taking the next one,” Dzeko said.

Still, Roma controlled throughout against a Calabrian squad playing in the top flight for the first time in its 107-year history.

The Giallorossi went ahead when Nainggolan scored with a low, angled shot across the area into the far corner. It was his sixth of the season, already matching his career best set last term with 14 matches still to play.

In the 53rd, Nainggolan set up Dzeko, whose shot was slightly deflected off the bar. It was the sixth time Dzeko has hit the goal frame this season _ also more than any other player in the league.

A minute later, Roma wasted another chance when a header from defender Federico Fazio hit the post following a corner with Cordaz beaten.

Dzeko finally hit the target after a nice setup from Salah left him with plenty of room to find the target.

INTER MILAN 2, EMPOLI 0

Even with captain Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic suspended, Inter had little trouble with relegation-threatened Empoli at the San Siro.

Italy internationals Eder and Antonio Candreva combined on both goals for the Nerazzurri.

Eder used his chest to redirect a cross from Candreva and put Inter ahead in the 14th, then Candreva redirected a long, accurate cross from Eder to score by the far post in the 54th.

Inter moved up to fourth, six points behind Napoli and the Champions League places.

OTHER MATCHES

Atalanta remained level on points with Inter after a 3-1 win at Palermo, getting goals from Andrea Conti, Alejandro “Papu” Gomez and Bryan Cristante.

Andrea Belotti scored twice in Torino’s 5-3 win over last-placed Pescara to raise his season tally to 17, one below Dzeko.

Also, Chievo Verona beat 10-man Sassuolo 3-1.

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