Serie A: Roma finally ends winless run with victory over Genoa
MILAN (AP) — Roma ended its winless streak with a 2-0 victory over Genoa in Serie A on Sunday to relieve some of the pressure on coach Rudi Garcia.
Alessandro Florenzi opened the scoring just before halftime and the whole Roma team ran over to hug Garcia.
Edin Dzeko was sent off 16 minutes before the end but teenager Sadiq Umar sealed the match late on to end a seven-match winless run for Roma that included Wednesday's Italian Cup exit against second-division Spezia.
"Today we see the light at the end of the tunnel," Garcia said. "There will be a lot of good things in the second half of the season. This is an important victory, but not the most important since I've been sat on the Roma bench.
"It's a reward for the whole group which didn't have much energy but managed to get the win with the right mental resources. My players are top drawer and they deserve to have a great second half of the season. With my skills and my defects I will give everything for Roma."
Roma remained fifth after Juventus, Napoli and Fiorentina all won.
Leader Inter Milan can restore its four-point advantage with a victory at home to Lazio later.
AC Milan moved into sixth after coming from behind to rescue a 4-2 win at relegation-threatened Frosinone, and bottom club Hellas Verona held high-flying Sassuolo to a 1-1 draw.
Sampdoria beat fellow struggler Palermo 2-0, while 10-man Udinese won 1-0 at Torino.
Reports in Italy said Garcia faced dismissal if Roma failed to beat Genoa in the final match before the winter break.
Florenzi netted the all-important goal two minutes from the break, volleying in at the back post after Lucas Digne's cross was deflected by Genoa defender Ezequiel Munoz.
Dzeko was shown a straight red in the 74th for dissent and Genoa almost took advantage of its numerical superiority before Sadiq secured the win seven minutes after coming off the bench, heading in a cross from fellow substitute William Vainqueur.
It was the 18-year-old Sadiq's first Serie A goal in his third appearance.
Napoli beat Atalanta 3-1, and Fiorentina defeated Chievo Verona 2-0, to stay tied for second on 35 points.
The match in Bergamo sparked into life after the break when Napoli was awarded a penalty after a needless handball by Marten De Roon.
Marek Hamsik had missed his last five penalties and almost did so again as his spot kick bounced off the underside of the bar but went over the line.
Alejandro Gomez leveled less than two minutes later but the league's leading goalscorer Gonzalo Higuain restored Napoli's lead seven minutes later, heading in Jorginho's corner.
Napoli had to play the final 15 minutes with 10 men after Jorginho was sent off for two bookings in three minutes on his 24th birthday.
Higuain sealed the win five minutes from time, slotting Hamsik's through ball into the bottom left corner for his 16th league goal of the season.
Napoli could have extended its advantage but Hamsik blasted a penalty over the bar after Gabriel Paletta was sent off for bringing down Dries Mertens, when he was clear on goal.
Nikola Kalinic and Josip Ilicic scored for Fiorentina.
In the lunchtime kickoff, Mario Mandzukic scored twice in a 3-2 win for Juventus after former Bianconeri striker Marco Borriello had given Carpi a shock lead.
Paul Pogba extended Juve's advantage but Carpi almost snatched a point after a stoppage-time own goal from Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci as Lorenzo Lollo miskicked from close to goal. Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was so angry that he tore his coat off and threw it at the bench.