Roma close in on third, Inter win 5-4 thriller
Rome: AS Roma moved within four points of third place in Serie A after a 5-2 win against lowly Novara and Inter Milan triumphed 5-4 over Genoa in Andrea Stramaccioni`s first game in charge on Sunday.
An enthralling weekend of Italian action ends with second-placed Juventus hosting Napoli at 1845 GMT as they try to cut the gap with leaders AC Milan to two points after the champions drew 1-1 at Catania amid more goalline controversy on Saturday.
The flurry of goals began in the early kick off in Rome but it was second-bottom Novara who took the lead in the 17th minute when Andrea Caracciolo deftly headed home.
Roma hit back when Marquinho equalised with his first for the club when he met Pablo Osvaldo`s cross with a bullet header after 25 minutes.
They took the lead nine minutes later when Osvaldo headed in Francesco Totti`s corner and three second-half goals from Simplicio, Bojan Krkic and Eric Lamela sealed the win with Takayuki Morimoto scoring for the visitors.
Roma remain sixth but are now only a point behind Napoli and Udinese, whose poor form continued with a 1-0 loss at midtable Siena.
Third-placed Lazio, in the Champions League qualifying round berth, went down 3-1 at struggling Parma on Saturday and could be joined on 51 points with eight games left if Napoli beat Juve.
"Congratulations to the team, who did everything that they needed to do," said Roma boss Luis Enrique.
"We continue to believe that we can finish third. It was a big win for the team. We haven`t been consistent enough to be higher in the table but that doesn`t mean that we can`t do it. We have to believe."
Seventh-placed Inter also have outside hopes of reaching third after Diego Milito bagged a hat-trick in a nine-goal thriller at the San Siro to boost ex-youth coach Stramaccioni, who took over from the sacked Claudio Ranieri last week.
The hosts raced into a 3-0 lead with Argentine Milito scoring twice within the first half hour and his countryman Walter Samuel sliding home Lucio`s cross in the 38th minute.
Genoa refused to lie down and goals from Emiliano Moretti and Rodrigo Palacio gave 36-year-old novice Stramaccioni a fright.
A 74th-minute Mario Zarate goal looked to have sealed the win but a frantic final 10 minutes, in which three penalties were scored including Milito`s third goal, almost helped Genoa snatch a point.
However, Inter ran out winners despite having goalkeeper Julio Cesar sent off and are now seven points behind Lazio.
Fiorentina`s recent slump dragged on as they lost 2-1 at home to Chievo, leaving them in 17th, one spot above the drop zone.
Lecce, in 18th, could not capitalise and played out a drab 0-0 draw with bottom side Cesena to remain five points away from safety.
Elsewhere, midtable Bologna lost 3-1 at home to Palermo, while Cagliari comfortably dealt with Atalanta, winning 2-0 with goals from Daniele Conti and Mauricio Pinilla.