ROME: Torino captain Andrea Belotti scored at the end of each half to give his midtable side a 2-0 win away to fourth-placed AS Roma as the hosts lost ground on the leading Serie A pack on Sunday.
The player known as the Rooster, who hit the post early on, fired into the roof of the net in first-half stoppage time and converted a penalty, awarded following a long VAR delay, in the 86th minute as Roma dropped four points behind third-placed Lazio.
Torino goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu also played a key part as he made a difficult early save from Nicolo Zaniolo and denied Aleksandar Kolarov and Lorenzo Pellegrini before halftime.
The visitors went ahead when Roma fullback Alessandro Florenzi sent a pass straight to a Torino player and the ball was floated over to Belotti who took his time before firing an unstoppable shot past Pau Lopez.
Sirigu made a superb point-blank save from Pellegrini in the second half but it was an otherwise uninspired display from Roma.
In one of several Torino breaks, Belotti had a shot blocked by Chris Smalling but, as the Roma defender got up, he accidentally knocked away the ball with his outstretched arm.
The referee reviewed the incident on the pitchside monitor although there was some confusion as he told Roma players of his decision before making the VAR signal. Belotti coolly converted for his ninth goal of the season.
In the other evening game, Genoa scored a highly controversial late winner to beat Sassuolo 2-1 and move off the bottom of the table on the debut of Davide Nicola, their third coach of the season.
With four minutes left, Domenico Criscito dispossessed Domenico Berardi and set up a counter-attack for Goran Pandev who scored at the second attempt after his first shot had been saved.
Sassuolo protested that Berardi had been fouled and were incensed that the referee refused to review the incident.
The visitors were also angry after Criscito put Genoa ahead with a 29th-minute penalty, awarded after Antonio Sanabria went down under the slightest of touches from Pedro Obiang.
Obiang levelled with a deflected shot four minutes later and Sassuolo’s Filip Djuricic had a goal disallowed for handball following a VAR review in the 76th minute.
“The penalty was scandalous and there was a foul on Berardi but the referee didn’t whistle,” said angry Sassuolo coach Roberto Di Zerbi.
Genoa, who have 14 points from 18 games, moved two clear of SPAL who earlier lost 2-0 at home to Verona.