Roma picked up three big points in Sunday's crunch clash with AC Milan at the San Siro.
Roma picked up three big points in Sunday's crunch clash with AC Milan at the San Siro courtesy of a second half quick-fire double from the red hot Edin Dzeko and Alessandro Florenzi, to leave them in the mix at the top and condemn the Rossoneri to a second Serie A defeat in a row.
There was little action in the opening stages as two cagey sides tried to settle into their respective passing games, and virtually no clear-cut chances for either side throughout the first half.
The first thing of note to happen within the match came in the 17th minute when Milan stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma scuffed a clearance into the path of Kevin Strootman, who snatched at the chance to score in an open goal from distance and put his first-time effort well wide.
Moments later, Aleksandar Kolarov surged forward and played a beautiful outside of the boot pass over to Florenzi, whose volley failed to trouble Donnarumma.
Milan responded with a chance of their own through Franck Kessie - the Ivorian shot a whisker wide on the half-volley on the edge of the box after inadvertantly working the chance with an air-shot.
Stephan El Sharaawy might have done better with his left foot shot inside Milan's box on 42 minutes after initially working the space, but Donnarumma was equal to a weak shot to the far corner.
The game got a little more spicy after the break, as Dzeko and Leonardo Bonucci became embroiled in a tough old battle, which saw the Bosnian receive a yellow card for one particular clash.
Moments later Dzeko turned on the dramatics in a bid to try and land Bonucci in trouble after another coming together, seemingly as a revenge act for the previous encounter.
Milan almost broke through on 58 minutes when Ricardo Rodriguez flashed a low ball right across the face of goal, and Andre Silva just couldn't convert on the stretch from close range.
The game then sprang into life and the best chance fell to Florenzi after he was slipped in by Lorenzo Pellegrini, only to be denied by Donnarumma who made himself big.
Milan came straight back with their best chance - Bonucci lashing a strike goalwards on the half volley after Hakan Calhanoglu had tossed the ball back into the box from a cleared corner, only for Allison to palm it to safety.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 72nd minute, when man-in-form Dzeko received the ball on the edge of the box from Pellegrini. The former Manchester City striker arrowed a lovely dipping shot into the far corner after it had taken a slight nick off Mateo Musacchio, for his seventh league goal of the season.
Roma then doubled their advantage moments later as Radja Nainggolan waltzed into the box to fire a left foot drive at Donnarumma, who could only palm straight into the path of an unmarked Florenzi to finish.
If there was any hope of Milan getting back into the game at that point, they were surely doused when the cautioned Calhanoglu cynically brought down Nainggolan to receive his marching orders.
It is a huge victory for Roma, who keep pace with those at the top - they are now just a point behind bitter rivals Lazio and six behind leaders Napoli with a game in hand.
For the Rossoneri it's back-to-back defeats and they surely won't have enough to challenge for the league title this year. Vincenzo Montella is now a man under pressure, and it remains to be seen whether he will be given time - especially with Carlo Ancelotti back on the market.