AS Roma smashed Catania 4-0 at the Olimpico on Sunday afternoon; maintaining their pressure on league leaders Juventus. It was about as easy a victory as the giallorossi will be handed this season, capitalising on an exceptionally poor performance from a team rooted to the foot of the Serie A table.
The opening exchanges were fairly even, though unfortunately Catania's resistance was far from stubborn. It took less than 20 minutes for Roma to take the lead, with Mehdi Benatia leaping to head home Mattia Destro's flick-on after Adem Ljajić's initial effort had been tipped round the post by Catania keeper Alberto Frison.
A surge of Roma pressure followed, and both Destro and Gervinho had great chances to double their advantage within five minutes of Benatia's opener. Fortunately for Catania, Frison was on excellent form. Unfortunately, their outfielders weren't. The elefanti spent much of the half packing men behind the ball, and their slow transitions left their strikers isolated and Roma keeper Morgan De Sanctis bored. The halftime whistle blew with him literally not having had a save to make.
The second half picked up where the first had left off, with Frison again forced into an excellent stop within a couple of minutes of the restart. Ljajić swaggered towards goal and drilled a low shot towards the near post, only for it to be tipped away by the diving Venetian.
Sadly it was all in vain, as Roma finally had their second goal five minutes short of the hour, with Frison undoing all of his excellent work with an embarrassing goalkeeping howler. He failed to keep hold of a routine low cross from the right, dropping the ball against his own defender Alexis Rolín. It rebounded right into the path of the lurking Destro, who just had to roll the ball into the open goal.
The floodgates had been blown open, and within five minutes Benatia had managed to net his second and Roma's third, again nodding the ball home after some lax set-piece defending from Catania. There was still more than enough time for Roma to add a fourth, and Gervinho managed to make amends for missing an open goal in his own inimitable style; scuffing the ball against his standing leg and over Frison to cap the victory.
Thankfully, that was as bad as things got for the Sicilian visitors.
The win means Roma stay five points adrift of league leaders Juventus, while Catania stay rooted to the foot of the table. On this evidence, they're relegation certainties.
AS Roma: De Sanctis; Dodô, Castán, Benatia, Maicon; Pjanić (Florenzi 81'), Bradley; Ljajić, Totti (Ricci 86'), Gervinho; Destro (Taddei 59').
Goals: Benatia (18', 59'), Destro (55'), Gervinho (80').
Catania: Frison; Álvarez, Rolín, Legrottaglie, Peruzzi (Biraghi 45'); Plašil, Guarente, Izco; Castro (Bergessio 60'), Leto (Monzón 67'), Barrientos.