Roma's title tilt ended
Catania decided the final destination of the Serie A title with a 4-1 victory over Roma that confirmed Juventus as champions.
Last Updated: 04/05/14 4:12pm
Relegation contenders Catania decided the final destination of the Serie A title with a 4-1 victory over Roma that confirmed Juventus as champions.
Rudi Garcia's second-placed Roma travelled to Sicily eight points behind Juve and knowing only victory here would maintain their slim hopes of denying the Turin giants their third straight championship.
Two first-half goals from Mariano Izco and later strikes from Gonzalo Bergessio and Pablo Barrientos sealed Roma's fate, while lifting Catania, who for the majority of their dismal campaign were rooted to the bottom of the table, to within three points of safety with two games remaining.
At the age of 37, Roma captain Francesco Totti did manage to score his first ever league goal against Catania, but his club's defeat allowed Juve to celebrate before they host Atalanta on Monday night.
Roma have not won at the Stadio Angelo Massimino since April 2007 and, with that added weight of expectation, the Giallorossi were clearly nervous in the opening exchanges.
Alessio Romagnoli headed wildly over the bar from Totti's pinpoint cross, while Alessandro Florenzi shot straight down Alberto Frison's throat.
Catania fired a loud warning shot across the bow as Bergessio stormed into the area to rattle a low drive at Morgan De Sanctis and, in the 26th minute, the Elefanti grabbed the opening goal.
It was a precise left-footed finish from Izco - the Argentinian was put through by Sebastian Leto's backheel - and Roma's aspirations to Scudetto glory began to fade.
Eight minutes later the dream slipped further into the ether as Izco doubled up for Catania.
This time he seized on the ball from Bergessio's pass from the right before burying it beyond De Sanctis with a fierce finish.
Roma needed three goals in Sicily to stay alive for another day and Totti made a timely contribution to the cause only three minutes after Izco's second was picked out of the net.
Daniele De Rossi's chip over the top found Florenzi, who headed the ball towards the penalty spot and on to the end of a thunderous half-volley from veteran marksman Totti.
Gervinho might even have dragged Roma back into contention on the stroke of half-time, but he was closed down by Frison before he could pull the trigger at the end of a swift counter-attack.
The Ivorian lived to regret the wasted opportunity as Catania pulled further clear 10 minutes after the break.
Bergessio reacted quickly when De Sanctis parried his first attempt to clip home and Roma's title challenge looked dead.
It was, however, finally over 10 minutes from full-time at the Massimino as Barrientos buried the dream with a splendid twisting finish off his left boot.