Luca Toni bagged his first goals since returning to Italy, as Roma beat Genoa this afternoon. Toni scored his first since joining the Eternal City side on loan from Bayern Munich earlier this month. The goal was on the stroke of half-time after team-mate Simone Perrotta had put Roma ahead in the 17th minute. Toni then put the game beyond Genoa's reach on the hour mark.
The outcome enabled Roma to leapfrog Juventus into third in the standings after the Turin giants lost 1-0 at Chievo. However, Claudio Ranieri's side could drop further in the table if Napoli beat Palermo later this evening.
Roma went into the game still without injured captain Francesco Totti, but looking to make it nine wins in a row at the Stadio Olimpico. The visitors, eager to bounce back from their midweek Coppa Italia elimination at the hands of Catania, struggled to break Roma's well-placed defence and mustered just one shot on goal in the entire game.
Italian defender Dario Dainelli was handed his Genoa debut after being included in Gian Piero Gasperini's starting XI. Dainelli joined the Grifoni from Fiorentina earlier this week and had relished the prospect of facing former Fiorentina team-mate Toni. But it was the Roma striker that had by far the better of the game.
Toni should have given the hosts an eighth minute lead, but his header inside the area from Marco Cassetti's cross went inches wide of the far post. At the other end, David Suazo tried his luck from distance and his bullet strike towards the near post was saved by Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio. It did not take long, however, for Roma to break the deadlock.
Genoa goalkeeper Marco Amelia cleared Mirko Vucinic's close-range effort, but only as far as Perrotta, who tapped the ball into the back of the net. Genoa would surely have levelled the score in the 25th minute had Jon Arne Riise not made a vital clearance from Giandomenico Mesto's effort inside the area that had beaten Julio Sergio.
Two for Toni
Roma continued to press forward and Toni almost made it 2-0 after the half-hour mark. Toni's header from Perrotta's cross forced Amelia to fully stretch to clear. The former Fiorentina frontman was finally rewarded before half-time. Toni made no mistake and fired from close range past Amelia from Vucinic's cross from the right.
Roma picked up where they left off after the restart and soon extended their lead. Toni beat his marker and nodded the ball past Amelia from Vucinic's free-kick. In the 72nd minute, Vucinic should have made it 4-0 after he played a one-two with Toni, but the Montenegrin striker missed the all-important touch inside the six-yard box.
Shortly after, Toni was given a standing ovation when he was replaced by Julio Baptista two minutes from time. Roma played out the remaining time for their tenth win of the campaign without major scares.