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Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Roma breeze past Cagliari to go fourth in Serie A

Reuters , Saturday 27 Apr 2019
SPAL's Italian forward Alberto Paloschi (L) and AS Rome's French midfielder Steven Nzonzi go for the ball during the Italian Serie A football match AS Roma vs SPAL 2013 on October 20, 2018 at the Olympic stadium in Rome. (Photo: AFP)
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AS Roma edged ahead in Serie A's tight race for Champions League qualification as a 3-0 home win over Cagliari on Saturday sent Claudio Ranieri's side into fourth place.

Federico Fazio and Javier Pastore scored inside the opening eight minutes before Aleksandar Kolarov added a third late on as the visitors offered little resistance.

The victory means Roma now have 58 points, two ahead of AC Milan and Atalanta on 56.

However, both those sides can restore a one-point lead over the capital club by beating Torino and Udinese respectively in their league fixtures over the next two days.

Cagliari launched an extraordinary recovery when these two teams met in August last year, coming back from two goals down to draw 2-2 in the final six minutes despite having two players sent off.

However, they showed no signs of offering such a challenge this time around as Fazio rose unmarked to head in after just five minutes. Pastore, making his first league start since September, doubled Roma's advantage three minutes later with a curling finish from the edge of the box.

The home team continued to threaten and were twice denied by the woodwork, with Pastore's shot striking the crossbar before an Edin Dzeko effort deflected off Cagliari captain Luca Ceppitelli and came back off the post.

Roma eventually got their third when goalkeeper Alessio Cragno smothered an effort from substitute Diego Perotti into the path of Kolarov, who made no mistake from close range.

Elsewhere, Empoli's chances of avoiding relegation took a hit in the early kick off when they surrendered the lead to lose 3-1 away to Bologna. The Tuscan side are four points adrift of the safety zone in 18th place with four games remaining.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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