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Roma closes gap at top by defeating Bologna

Photo: Studio FN/AP

Radja Nainggolan (44) netted the only goal in Roma's victory over relegation-threatened Bologna.

BOLOGNA, Italy (AP) -- Roma ground out a 1-0 win at relegation-threatened Bologna to cut the gap to Serie A leader Juventus to six points as Radja Nainggolan scored his first goal for the capital club on Saturday.

Nainggolan scored his first Italian league goal at Bologna, in October 2010, and he also opened his Roma account there following his January move from Cagliari.

The Belgium midfielder volleyed home Miralem Pjanic's cross from close range eight minutes from time.

Lazaros Christodoulopoulos should have snatched a late point for Bologna but, incredibly, he headed Panagiotis Kone's cross past the left post from six yards deep in stoppage time.

It was Roma's 16th clean sheet in the league this season, in an entertaining match at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

Juventus hosts Turin in the derby on Sunday.

''It was an important win,'' Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. ''We didn't always make the right decisions in attack but we defended well.

''Juventus is playing a derby tomorrow and anything can happen. We are calm, tomorrow we'll watch our rivals' matches calmly. This season we have the chance to aim for the title, (and) we'll work hard until May to crown our dream and that of our fans.''

Roma almost went in front in the 19th minute when Mattia Destro's effort hit the inside of the right post and rolled all the way along the goalline before going out by the left upright.

Rene Krhin headed a corner narrowly over as Bologna fought hard for an equalizer and Andrea Mantovani's header skimmed the base of the post with Roma goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis beaten.

Rodrigo Taddei should have sealed the result but Gianluca Curci did well to save with his legs.

Bologna remained two points off the bottom three ahead of the rest of the weekend's fixtures.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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