Rome – Christian Panucci’s late header Saturday sealed Roma’s 4-3 win over guests Catania in a spectacular opening game of the Italian Serie A weekend.
The win at the Stadio Olimpico kept the Rome side in sixth position, with faint hopes to claim a place in next season’s Champions League as fourth-place Fiorentina lie seven points ahead before Sunday’s home game with Sampdoria.
Simone Perrotta scored a brace for Roma, opening on 13 minutes, with a header off a cross from Montenegro striker Mirko Vucinic. But the Sicily guests levelled two minutes later with Giacomo Tedesco flicking past the onrushing Brazilian goalkeeper Artur.
Roma were again ahead after two more minutes as Perrotta returned the favour to Vucinic, setting him up for a great control and winning drive inside the area.
There was some luck for Perrotta when he scored again on 31 minutes with a drive that met the deflection of a defender to wrongfoot goalkeeper Tomas Kosicky.
Catania were undaunted and rallied to a equalize through a free kick from sharpshooter Giuseppe Mascara and a counter-attack goal from Japanese striker Takayuki Morimoto on 72 minutes.
The final word came from veteran defender Panucci, who deflected home a corner kick in injury time for Roma 4-3 win.
Later Saturday, a win by Udinese over guests AC Milan can decide the outcome of the Serie A season as defending champions Inter Milan hold a seven-point lead on second-place Milan with three games left.
Should the city rivals leave Udine unbeaten, Inter can still secure a fourth straight title late Sunday when they welcome Tuscany minnows Siena, who are virtually safe from relegation worries.(dpa)