Roma turned in one of the performances in the season as Milan's recent run was shown to be nothing more than illusory
In the battle of terrible defences, it was AS Roma's impressive attack which saw them take all three points, knocking four past AC Milan in the process. Roma's manner of victory was so Zemanesque, they even managed to throw in a late wobble for good measure. But, by the time Pazzini and Bojan scored twice for the visitors in the game's dying moments, the devastating damage had already been inflicted.
The game started at a high tempo, with both sides playing direct, incisive passes. The first real test of either goalkeeper fell to Milan stopper Marco Amelia, who was forced into a good save to deny Pablo Osvaldo from the edge of the box.
However, Amelia was left wondering why he ever bothered from the proceeding corner, as Nicolas Burdisso climbed above everyone to head in the opener, with less than 15 minutes on the clock. Moments later it should have been 1-1, but Mauro Goicoechea made a superb stop to deny Stephan El Shaarawy in a one-on-one.
Milan seemed to be settling into the game, but their porous defence was about to come crashing down under the pressure of Roma's attacking waves. A cross from Francesco Totti found Osvaldo in the area, with the Italian international leaping to power home for 2-0.
By the half-hour mark it was 3-0, and things -- even by Milan standards -- were starting to get embarrasing. Erik Lamela added the third, and Francesco Totti should have added a fourth immediately after the second half had begun.
After il capitano failed to deliver, Lamela took it upon himself to net Roma's fourth, taking advantage of yet more elementary defending to head beyond Amelia. But, as is always the case with a Zeman team, it wasn't a totally perfect day. After Marquinhos was sent off harshly for a deliberate handball with just over ten minutes remaining, the inevitable nervy end began.
Goicoechea tarnished an otherwise-perfect performance by conceding a penalty, which Giampaolo Pazzini stepped up to convert in the 87th minute. With any other team, this would be no reason for concern. This was, however, Roma. After substitute Bojan had scored a second a minute later, things looked even more uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, the hosts managed to withstand the ensuing barrage to seal the win, moving within four points of second place in the process. Milan, meanwhile, stay seventh, with Max Allegri's hopes of a quiet Christmas as shredded as his side's defence.
Roma (4-3-3): Goicoechea; Balzaretti, Burdisso, Marquinhos, Piris; Bradley, De Rossi, Pjanić; Totti (Romagnoli 80), Osvaldo (Destro 69), Lamela (Florenzi 68)
AC Milan (4-3-3): Amelia; Constant, Yepes, Mexès, De Sciglio; Nocerino (Pazzini 56), Ambrosini (Muntari 77), Montolivo; El Shaarawy, Boateng, Robinho (Bojan 70)
Goals: Burdisso 13 (R) Osvaldo 24 (R) Lamela 30, 61 (R) Pazzini 87 pen (M), Bojan 88 (R)
Sent off: Marquinhos 78 (R)