Mali's Keita scores as Roma hit five without Totti in Serie A

Reuters , Monday 22 Feb 2016

Roma's Seydou Keita, center, celebrates with his teammates Mohamed Salah, left, and Antonio Rudiger after he scored during a Serie A soccer match between Roma and Palermo, in Rome's Olympic Stadium, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016. (AP)

AS Roma hammered Palermo 5-0 for their fifth successive Serie A win on Sunday, a triumph overshadowed by coach Luciano Spalletti's decision to drop Francesco Totti and adorned by Edin Dzeko's unreal miss of the season in front of goal.

Dzeko recovered from his almost comical blunder to net twice while Mohamed Salah, with his own double, and Seydou Keita also scored to make it an unhappy return to the Palermo bench for coach Giuseppe Iachini, who was recalled last week after being sacked in November.

Lowly Palermo have had four different coaches in the Iachini's absence and the most recent, Giovanni Bosi, was sacked after one match.

Third-placed Fiorentina kept up the pressure on pacesetters Juventus and Napoli with a 3-2 win at Atalanta where all the goals came in a breathless last 25 minutes.

Ali Adnan became the first Iraqi player to score a Serie A goal when he hit the target for Udinese at Genoa, although the hosts turned the game around to win 2-1, helped by a late penalty save from Mattia Perin.

Carpi's Vid Belec also saved a late penalty from Maxi Lopez as the relegation-threatened side held on for a goalless draw at Torino while Sassuolo's 3-2 win over Empoli featured two harsh red cards and a controversial penalty.

Fiorentina's win left them on 52 points, four behind second-placed Napoli who will go back to the top if they beat AC Milan at home on Monday. Leaders Juventus have 58 points after Friday's 0-0 draw at Bologna.

Roma's talismanic playmaker Totti, dropped from the squad by Spalletti after saying he wanted more playing time, watched impassively from the stands as his side scored four second half goals to move into fourth place in the table on 50 points.

The game began almost farcically when Maicon's cross found Dzeko unmarked at the back post with an empty net at his mercy but the Bosnian somehow missed the unmissable, only able to trickle the ball back across the face of the goal and past the post.

Dzeko, though, atoned two minutes later as he fired past Palermo's 18-year-old goalkeeper Fabrizio Alastra.

Salah provided the highlight of the second half blitz when he curled the fourth into the net from what seemed an impossible angle on the goal-line.

Fiorentina went ahead with a Matias Fernandez header in the 67th minute and Cristian Tello scored on the break with nine minutes left.

Andrea Conti pulled one back for the hosts, before Nikola Kalinic turned in Borja Valero's cross for his 11th goal of the season and effectively seal Fiorentina's win.

Mauricio Pinilla replied with a stoppage time consolation for Atalanta, who then had Conti sent off for a second bookable offence.

Adnan, who became the first Iraqi to play in Serie A when he signed for Udinese in the close season, scored his first goal with a free kick which was badly misjudged by Perin in the 33rd minute.

Alessio Cerci, from the penalty spot, and Diego Laxalt turned the game around for Genoa in the second half before Perin redeemed himself by saving 38-year-old Antonio Di Natale's penalty in the last minute.

Sassuolo were fuming when midfielder Simone Missiroli was given a second yellow card for what seemed accidental handball after 32 minutes and their irritation was only increased four minutes later when Piotr Zielinski gave visitors Empoli the lead.

Empoli also had Lorenzo Tonelli dismissed for a harsh second yellow card and Domenico Berardi levelled for seventh-placed Sassuolo with a spectacular volley on the turn just before the break.

Gregoire Defrel scored twice in three minutes after halftime to put Sassuolo in command before Empoli were awarded a controversial penalty for a foul by Federico Peluso on Alessandro Piu.

Massimo Maccarone fired home from the spot, the eleventh goal of the season for the 36-year-old 'Big Mac'.

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