Genoa might have begun Sunday comfortably mid-table, but there's clearly a vast gulf in talent between them and second-place Roma, and a visit to the Stadio Olimpico was never going to be easy, especially without top scorer Alberto Gilardino. And so it proved -- after a tepid start Roma brushed their guests aside, eventually running out 4-0 winners in a match where they were never seriously threatened.
The early stages of the first half were at best 'slow' and at worst 'incredibly dull'. Both sides had shouts for penalties turned down; the hosts claiming for a spot kick when Luca Antonini blocked Francesco Totti's long range shot with an arm, and the visitors protesting after Maicon barged Andrea Bertolacci in the Roma box. That was about as exciting as it got before Roma decided to turn on the class.
Alessandro Florenzi was the man to inject some magic into the game, scoring an absolutely stunning opener in the 25th minute. Matuzalem fouled Totti at the edge of the box (earning a yellow card for his troubles), and although the free kick was poor, it still caused some panic in the Genoa box. Radja Nainggolan and Thomas Manfredi challenged for the ball, which looped into the air, hanging invitingly for someone to smash it home. Florenzi obliged, unleashing a bicycle kick that skimmed in off the far post before Mattia Perin had so much as moved.
That spark was all that was needed for Roma to burst into life. Within minutes, Gervinho had come close to adding a second, beating Davide Biondini to Morgan de Sanctis' long ball forward and forcing a smart stop from Perin, a save that merely delayed the inevitable. And not by very long, either. On the half hour mark the former Arsenal man went on another run down the right, this time cutting back for Totti. The resulting shot was weak and scuffed, but it hit Manfredi's heel on its way to goal, wrong-footing the keeper and trickling just inside the near post.
The rout was on. Genoa were pushing forward in an attempt to get back into the game, allowing the hosts to sit back and pounce on the counterattack. Just before halftime, they grabbed their third, striking on the break through Maicon. Dodo won the ball, set Florenzi free on the right, and Maicon, completely unmarked, received the ball with enough space to bring it down and fire past the unfortunate Perin from close range.
The goals kept flowing after halftime. Mehdi Benatia, who hadn't had much to do defensively, added his name to the scoresheet when he turned in a Totti corner with the back of his head. And things got worse for the visitors, who lost Matuzalem to a second yellow card early after the break. Down by four goals and a man, they simply gave up, allowing Roma to coast their way to the end of the match. It's difficult to blame them.
AS Roma starting lineup (4-3-3): Morgan de Sanctis; Dodo, Nicolas Burdisso, Mehdi Benatia, Maicon (Tin Jedvaj 82'); Miralem Pjanic (Mattia Destro 71'), Kevin Strootman, Radja Nainggolan; Gervinho, Francesco Totti, Alessandro Florenzi .
Goals: Florenzi 25', Totti 30', Maicon 43', Benatia 52'.
Genoa starting lineup (3-5-1-1): Mattia Perin; Giovanni Marchese, Thomas Manfredini, Luca Antonini; Luca Antonelli, Cabral, Matuzalem, Davide Biondini, Sime Vrsaljko (Sebastian de Maio 69'); Andrea Bertolacci (Isaac Cofie 62'); Emanuele Calaio (Moussa Konate 82').