MILAN (Reuters) – A hugely controversial penalty set AS Roma on the way to a 2-0 win over neighbours Lazio in a derby which was boycotted by both sets of Ultras in a protest over security measures on Sunday.
Edin Dzeko won and converted an early penalty for Roma, although the foul appeared to take place outside the penalty area, and Gervinho added the second in the 63rd minute after both sides had struck the woodwork.
Inter Milan ensured they will finish the weekend with at least a share of the Serie A lead after winning 1-0 away to Torino and titleholders Juventus came from behind to win 3-1 at Empoli, climbing to joint seventh.
Roberto Mancini’s Inter, who managed just two shots on target and won thanks to Geoffrey Kondogbia’s first-half goal, have won eight of their 12 games this season, all of them by one-goal margins, and scored only 12 goals.
Inter have 27 points, followed by Roma (26) with Fiorentina (24) away to Sampdoria later on Sunday (1945 GMT).
The Stadio Olimpico was only half-full for the derby as Lazio joined Roma’s fans in their protest.
Roma’s hardcore fans are furious because the civil defence service has ordered the Curva Sud to be split for security reasons and say their club’s response has not been strong enough. As a result both ends of the stadium were almost deserted.
There was early drama when Dzeko was felled by Santiago Gentiletti and, although replays showed the tackle was outside the area, the referee pointed to the spot and the Bosnia international converted for only his second Serie A goal of the season.
Gentiletti, booked for the foul, escaped a red card for tripping Gervinho shortly afterwards.
Felipe Anderson fired a long-range shot against the post for Lazio and than Radja Nainggolan’s shot also struck the woodwork for Roma before halftime.
There were plenty of sneaky late tackles and flare-ups before Gervinho collected a long pass forward in his stride, burst into the Lazio area and found a gap between Federico Marchetti and the near post to keep Roma on Inter’s heels.
Lazio, who have failed to win any of their last five meetings with Roma, slumped to their third successive Serie A defeat.
Massimo Maccarone gave Empoli an early lead but Juventus hit back with goals from Mario Mandzukic and Patrice Evra before halftime and Paulo Dybala added a third six minutes from the end.
Genoa snatched a 2-2 draw at Frosinone despite having Sebastian De Maio sent off in the first half after receiving two yellow cards in quick succession.
A superb piece of trickery from Darko Lazovic set up Serge Gakpe who tapped in the equaliser in the 75th minute.
Alberto Gilardino’s goal gave Palermo a 1-0 win over Chievo to provide a lifeline for beleaguered coach Giuseppe Iachini, who had been expected to lose his job if they lost, and Sassuolo beat lowly Carpi 1-0.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Toby Davis)