MILAN (Reuters) - AS Roma thumped hapless Udinese 4-0 away in Serie A on Wednesday despite playing for nearly an hour with 10 men after a controversial sending-off for defender Federico Fazio.
Udinese, beaten 7-1 by Atalanta on Sunday, were in more trouble when Nicolo Zaniolo gave Roma the lead in the 14th minute after pouncing on a mistake in midfield.
But the hosts got a break in the 32nd minute when Fazio was dismissed for denying Stefano Okaka a scoring chance even though it barely appeared to be a foul. Roma protested furiously but Fazio’s dismissal was confirmed after a VAR check lasting several minutes.
Yet it was Roma who scored again in the 51st minute when Chris Smalling was left unmarked at the far post to turn the ball in from a corner.
Justin Kluivert added a third from a counter-attack three minutes later and Aleksandar Kolarov completed Udinese’s misery with a 66th minute penalty awarded for handball as Roma climbed to fourth with 19 points.
Their neighbours Lazio also won 4-0, against Torino, with forward Ciro Immobile scoring twice, the second a penalty, to take his league tally for the season to 12.
Francesco Acerbi opened the scoring for Lazio, who have 18 points, and Torino forward Andrea Belotti put through his own net in the 90th minute, accidentally heading in from a corner.
Cagliari also have 18 points after two goals from Joao Pedro and one from Giovanni Simeone gave them a 3-2 win at home to Bologna, who had taken the lead through a Federico Santander penalty.
Bologna’s second, in the last minute, was an own goal by Cagliari goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
Fiorentina continued their climb up the table, moving into eighth, by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Sassuolo thanks to Gaetano Castrovilli’s diving header and a Nikola Milenkovic goal in the last half hour.
Jeremie Boga had put Sasuolo ahead in the 24th minute with a superb solo effort.
Sampdoria stayed bottom but salvaged a 1-1 draw at home to Lecce when Gaston Ramirez headed a stoppage time equaliser, the ball crossing the line before being cleared by Lecce’s defence.
Gianluca Lapadula gave Lecce an eighth minute lead and the match turned on an incident at the end of the first half when the referee awarded Lecce a penalty for handball and sent off Sampdoria’s Alex Ferrari but then reversed both decisions after a VAR review.
Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar