Serie A - Roma ease past struggling Novara
Roma kept alive their hopes of European qualification with a convincing 5-2 victory over struggling Novara at the Stadio Olimpico.
First-half goals from Marquinho and Pablo Osvaldo gave the hosts a slender advantage before they turned on the gas in the second half, running in three more through Fabio Simplicio, Bojan and Erik Lamela to dent Novara's hopes of staying up.
Roma now lie in sixth place, four points short of the third and final Champions League qualifying slot with eight games remaining; Novara are second bottom, six points short of safety.
The home side settled into a fluid passing rhythm early on, camping themselves in the Novara half from the whistle. Bojan picked out Osvaldo only for the striker to shoot wide as Samir Ujkani narrowed the angle.
It was Novara, however, who took the lead against the run of play with their first attacking threat. Giuseppi Gemiti worked space down the left and delivered a pinpoint cross to Caracciolo, who speared an excellent header past Maarten Stekelenburg via the post.
The goal was the wake-up call that Roma required and they were on level terms within minutes. Osvaldo's cross picked out Marquinho who headed in completely unchallenged. The out-of-sorts Ujkani almost let in first Osvaldo and then Francesco Totti with a kamikaze attempt at a clearance before the excellent Osvaldo capped off a fine first half performance with a goal of his own, heading in direct from the corner at the far post.
Osvaldo thought he had made it three moments later, only to see his looping header come back off the underside of the bar from Jose Angel's cross. And Novara were relieved to see in half time only a goal adrift when Osvaldo's turn and shot flew just over the bar.
Roma continued where they left off in the second half, Simplicio lofting the ball exquisitely over substitute keeper Alberto Fontana after Marquinho saw his initial effort saved. Bojan then got the goal his all-round performance deserved, sliding the ball past Fontana after Roma caught Novara on the break.
Novara reduced the arrears thanks to a well-taken goal from substitute Morimoto but Lamela, on for Bojan, sealed the rout in injury time with a cool finish from Osvaldo's pinpoint pass.