Roma ends four-month home winless streak with win over Napoli
ROME (AP) — Roma ended its four-month winless streak at home with a 1-0 victory over Napoli in Serie A on Saturday, while Lazio kept up the pressure on its city rival with a 3-1 win at relegation-threatened Cagliari.
Miralem Pjanic finished a swift counterattack for Roma in the 25th minute and goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis did the rest — saving shot after shot by Napoli in the second half.
"It's important to win a match and gain some continuity," De Sanctis said. "The last (four) months were tough in terms of results. So to win in front of our fans fills us with pride."
Lazio, which also missed a penalty on his way to a seventh consecutive victory, remained a point behind second-place Roma.
Sampdoria, which visits Fiorentina later, slipped provisionally seven points behind Lazio, with Napoli a point further back in the fight for Champions League places after a fifth match without a win.
Also later, three-time defending champion Juventus, which leads Roma by 11 points, hosts mid-table Empoli.
AC Milan won 2-1 at Palermo for its first away victory since October, while Inter Milan was booed off the pitch at San Siro after being held 1-1 by bottom club Parma.
All 10 matches of the 29th round were being played Saturday due to the Easter holiday.
Elsewhere, Cesena gave itself hope of avoiding relegation as it came back from three goals down to draw 3-3 at Hellas Verona. It moved to four points off safety, with 17th-placed Atalanta losing 2-1 at home to Torino.
Genoa drew 1-1 against Udinese and 10-man Sassuolo held on to beat Chievo Verona 1-0.
Security was tight for Napoli's first visit to Roma since a fan of the southern club died following a shooting before last season's Italian Cup final at the Stadio Olimpico.
Residents of the entire Campania region that includes Naples were barred from buying tickets for the match and 1,000 police officers were called in to maintain order.
But there were no reports of problems.
Roma was without injured captain Francesco Totti and fellow forward Gervinho but Pjanic quickly made an impact with a free kick from 30 meters that sailed just wide of the post.
A few minutes later, Juan Iturbe rapidly carried into the area and passed to Alessandro Florenzi, who from the right flank picked out Pjanic to slot it in.
In the second half, De Sanctis was superb in denying Dries Mertens on several occasions. The 38-year-old goalkeeper also made a leaping save on a shot from Manolo Gabbiadini in the 64th.
Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne came on late for his first action since tearing his knee in November.
The pressure was on Lazio, which was playing later in Sardinia, and it took the lead just after the half hour. Felipe Anderson did well on the right flank, beating several players before putting in a cross which Stefano Mauri intelligently flicked on to an unmarked Miroslav Klose.
Cagliari leveled five minutes after halftime with a superb, deflected chip from Marco Sau over a helpless Federico Marchetti.
Substitute Keita Balde Diao changed the match, earning a penalty with his first touch as he was brought down by Luca Rossettini.
Lucas Biglia converted that spot-kick but failed with his second nine minutes later, blazing over the bar after Keita was tripped by Modibo Diakite, who was sent off.
Marco Parolo sealed the match with a stoppage-time free kick.
In Sicily, Jeremy Menez again came to Milan's rescue, with a wonderful solo effort to inflict what was only Palermo's third home defeat of the season.
Menez gathered the ball near the center circle before racing downfield and lifting the ball over Palermo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino and under the bar for the winner, seven minutes from time.
It was his 16th goal of the season.
Alessio Cerci had given Milan the lead with his first goal for the club, bundling in Marco van Ginkel's cross at the near post in the 37th minute.
Paulo Dybala leveled from the spot after Andrea Belotti was tripped by Gabriel Paletta.