Serie A - Roma beat Fiorentina to keep up unbeaten run

Substitute Matia Destro fired Roma to a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina that ended a frustrating streak of four consecutive draws and maintained their impressive unbeaten run.

Inspired by former Arsenal winger Gervinho - the forward having a hand in both of Roma’s goals - Rudi Garcia’s men returned to winning ways through goals from Maicon and Destro.

Fiorentina’s leveller from Juan Vargas wasn’t enough for Vincenzo Montella to take anything from his old stomping ground where he played over 250 times and was a Scudetto winner.

This match contained everything from the first whistle and Arsenal fans got another glimpse of Gervinho at his most dangerous.

The Ivorian winger was a constant nuisance on the left-wing, unpredictable in his decision-making and able to make up the ground between Roma’s defence and attack.

It was his quick feet that took him to the by-line and carved open the defence for the breakthrough goal after seven minutes. The former Lille ace cut the ball back for Maicon, who shuffled his feet like a centre-forward to bundle in from five yards.

At times in the opening 20 minutes, Nenad Tomovic had no idea what Gervinho was ready to do next – and perhaps the Ivory Coast international didn’t either.

And that was best illustrated when Gervinho was threaded through by passing-master Miralem Pjanic into the inside-right channel, where he completely lost his balance and failed to double Roma’s advantage.

That miss might have proved crucial when Fiorentina equalised on 28 minutes through an unstoppable, left-foot rocket from Juan Vargas that finished off a move inspired by Tomovic.

Roma’s swift football early in the half disappeared, as Montella’s side took more care in possession and were able to pass their way up the pitch, rather than rely on the speedy counter-attack.

The players seemed in half-time mode for the first 10 minutes of the second period; until Gervinho came alive again to inspire Roma into taking the intiative once more.

After 56 minutes, the Ivorian strolled past Manuel Pasqual and Stefan Savic, but his final ball was wasted by Adem Ljajic, who couldn’t fire in from close range.

Gervinho was once again involved and at his best five minutes later, with Kevin Strootman striking the woodwork.

Garcia’s side would finally get their breakthrough in a strong, sustained period of dominance on 66 minutes when Gervinho hit the byline on the right-flank, squeezing his cross to substitute Matia Destro who blasted emphatically into the top corner.

Although left-back Pasqual was chasing shadows against Gervinho, the Fiorentina defender forced Morgan De Sanctis into a spectacular one-handed save from a 35-yard free kick that had seemed destined for the net.

Once in the lead, Roma were happy to sit in deeper positions and Fiorentina edged the possession statistics in the closing stages.

The win sees Roma claw back the inches on league-leaders Juventus and remain unbeaten in Serie A – but their efforts were tarnished by a sending off for Pjanic, who was shown a second yellow card late in the game.

Roma's neighbours Lazio continued their downward slide by losing 1-0 at Torino, their sixth league game without a win, and Cagliari and Verona each produced dramatic turnarounds to win 2-1 at home.

Marco Sau scored two late goals to give Cagliari a highly controversial 2-1 win over 10-man Genoa who took an early lead through Alberto Gilardino and were furious about Thomas Manfredini's red card two minutes before halftime.

Manfredini was clearly manhandled by Daniele Conti at a corner but both were booked and the Genoa player was dismissed for a second yellow card.

Verona also scored twice in the last 10 minutes to beat Atalanta 2-1, Jorginho scoring the winner with a penalty.

Sampdoria gave coach Sinisa Mihajlovic his first league win since taking over, beating bottom-of-the-table Catania 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Eder and Manolo Gabbiadini and climbing to joint 16th with 14 points.