Roma extended their fantastic 100 per cent start to the Serie A season with a Miralem Pjanic-inspired 2-0 home win over Napoli on Friday.
The win leaves Roma five points clear of Napoli, who could be overtaken in second by Juventus, who face Fiorentina on Sunday.
Pjanic, fresh from helping Bosnia to a first ever FIFA World Cup finals, curled a sumptuous free-kick home with the last kick of the first half, after Daniele De Rossi had cleared a goalbound Goran Pandev effort off the line.
Paolo Cannavaro, who had conceded the free-kick, fouled Marco Borriello in the penalty area with 20 minutes left in the game, earning him a second yellow card, allowing Pjanic to lash home his second from the spot.
In-form duo Gervinho and Alessandro Florenzi continued in support of Francesco Totti in attack for Roma, while Gonzalo Higuain failed a late fitness test for the visitors and had to make do with a place on the bench, although Christian Maggio returned at right-back.
Roma made most of the early running and had two chances to take the lead in the 19th minute, but De Rossi headed a corner straight at Pepe Reina, while Gervinho wastefully blazed wide as he closed in on goal.
Totti was forced off with 10 minutes to go in the opening period, Borriello coming on in his place, and they almost went a goal down moments later.
A swift Napoli counter-attack saw Pandev closing in on goal, the Macedonian's weak effort was parried by Morgan De Sanctis, but regardless looked destined to trickle in, only for De Rossi to charge back and acrobatically hack the ball clear.
An injury for Miguel Britos brought Cannavaro into the game, but the Napoli club captain had a disastrous impact on the game.
The defender cynically fouled Gervinho as he looked to dart goalwards, and Pjanic stepped up, curling the set-piece over the wall and into Reina's top right-hand corner.
Napoli roared back after the break with Gokhan Inler flashing an effort just wide and Marek Hamsik clipping the crossbar, but Roma retained a threat, with Kevin Strootman whistling a long-range effort just over.
And with 70 minutes on the clock, the hosts had their second. Cannavaro hauled down Borriello in the area, for his second booking of the evening and a second foul leading to a goal as Pjanic smashed the spot-kick into the roof of the net.
The goal and dismissal were ultimately too much for the visitors to recover from, as Roma comfortably saw out their eighth win from as many Serie A games this term and in the process inflicted Rafael Benitez's first league defeat as Napoli boss.
|26||M. De Sanctis|
|16||D. De Rossi|
|15||M. Pjanić||45+4' 71' 74'|
|Coach: R. Garcia|
for F. Totti 33'
for Y. Gervinho 58'
for A. Florenzi 81'
|Stanislas brace leads Bournemouth past Yeovil|
|Watford slip to friendly defeat at Cardiff|
|Lukaku injury sours Everton win at Dundee|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Fenerbahce draw blank as Monaco impress|
|West Brom earn friendly win over Walsall|
|Vardy at the double as Leicester beat Burton|
|Atletico impress in win over Oviedo|
|Herrera sacked by Mexico after ´punch´|
|Gerrard, Keane and Bradley pull out of MLS All-Star squad|
|Marseille reach Diaby agreement|
|Sammer thrilled with Vidal´s winning mentality|
|Platini expected to launch FIFA presidency bid|
|Romanov sacked me over Barca snub - Korobochka|
|Villa complete Crespo capture|
|Wolfsberger v Borussia Dortmund: Bender praises ´fun but exhausting´ training|
|Okaka swaps Sampdoria for Anderlecht|
|Southampton v Vitesse: Fonte excited for ´dream´ sojourn into Europe|
|Bournemouth agree King compensation|
|West Ham v Astra: Kouyate confident West Ham can progress|
|Vidal completes Bayern switch, signs four-year deal|
|Fabregas calls for Champions League improvement|
|BREAKING NEWS: Filipe Luis completes Atletico return|
|Bayern to present Vidal|
|Wenger unfazed by Mourinho´s spending jibe|
|Pellegrini: Sterling will justify price tag|
|Cavani hit with two-match Uruguay ban|
|Bonucci to remain at Juve until 2020|
|No bids for Berahino - West Brom|
|Putin: Blatter deserves a Nobel prize|
|Howe: Swansea a benchmark for Bournemouth|
|New Parma to play in Serie D|
|Mata vows to hit the goal trail at United|
|Drogba ´perfect fit´ for Montreal|
|Berahino ´not yet´ ready for Tottenham - Irvine|
|Romero lauds caring Van Gaal|
|Jese flying at Real under Rafa|
|Sampdoria unwilling to pay €10m for Balotelli|
|Mourinho talks up Arsenal title chances|
|Hull sign Ryan Taylor, Sam Clucas|
|Kane, Pochettino hail MLS All-Star test|
|Di Santo sorry for swift Werder departure|
|Mourinho tells Ronaldo: Team honours come first|
|Khedira returns to Juve training|
|Celtic v Qarabag: Champions League return of utmost importance, says Collins|
|Pellegrini: Jovetic had to go|
|Manquillo completes Marseille move|
|Schalke reject Juve´s Draxler bid|
|Blanc: Di Maria deal ´close´|
|Di Santo debut ends in stalemate|
|Fire sign Drogba, trade him to Montreal Impact|
|FIFA and UEFA welcome ruling on third-party ownership|
|Juve kick off title defence against Udinese|
|Stoke sign free agent Afellay|
|Benitez confident Ramos will stay|
|Fenerbahce issue warning to fans|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: De Boer confident Ajax are ready for Vienna test|
|Bility: I am the favourite for FIFA presidency|
|Pienaar to miss start of season|
|Vietnam 1 Manchester City 8: Sterling shines as tourists run riot|
|All-Star Keane relishing Spurs clash|
|Shaun Wright-Phillips joins brother Bradley at Red Bulls|
|Inter 0 Real Madrid 3: Rodriguez stunner caps comfortable win|
|Villa sign Ayew|
|Watford complete Berghuis transfer|
|Robben returns to Bayern training|
|Pulis anxious to make West Brom additions|
|David Luiz eager to welcome ´fantastic´ Di Maria|
|Fernando injury free ahead of new campaign|
|Hummels blames weight issues for poor season|
|Defoe hoping for early Sunderland goals|
|Depay hints at identity of ´surprise´ United striker|
|Tigres UANL v River Plate: Hosts look to bounce back and make history|
|Crespo set for Villa move|
|Terry: I would never join a Premier League rival|
|Van Gaal coy on United future|
|Romero to cover potential De Gea exit - Van Gaal|
|Uruguay win men´s football gold at Pan Am Games|
|Pirlo thanks New York City fans for ´beautiful´ welcome|
|Mexico capitalised on ´the mistakes we made´ - Schafer|
|Herrera delighted with Mexico display|
|MLS Review: Whitecaps build happy home, Pirlo debuts|
|Guardado wins Golden Ball at Gold Cup|
|NZF confirms Olympics disqualification appeal|
|Jamaica 1 Mexico 3: CONCACAF giants complete form turnaround|
|New York Red Bulls 2 Benfica 1: Another scalp for MLS side|
|Romero signs with United|
|Moghreb Tetouan 1 Al Hilal Omdurman 1: Visitors go top|
|Van Gaal rules out Ronaldo bid|