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Roma snatch Udinese win

06 January 2015, 21:51

Milan - Title challengers Roma had Davide Astori's controversial first-half goal to thank for a 1-0 win away to Udinese that pulled them level with Juventus at the top of Italy's Serie A on Tuesday.

Ahead of Juve's later fixture with Inter, Roma travelled north without Gervinho, Seydou Keita, Emmanuel Badu and Molla Wague - all of whom are on Africa Cup of Nations duty - as well as injured defender Leandro Castan.

Despite shading the encounter at the Udinese's Friuli stadium, Rudi Garcia's men rode their luck in the closing minutes when late substitute Urby Emanuelson hauled down Panagiotis Kone in the box as the referee waved play on.

Roma's 12th win of the campaign left them in second place on 39 points, with Lazio, 3-0 winners over Sampdoria on Monday, in third a further nine points adrift.

Also read: Pellegrini opts for substance over style

Juventus can restore their three-point cushion with a win in Turin later Tuesday, a game Garcia and Roma will be watching in earnest.

Garcia told Sky Sport: "It's important to win when you're the first to play. We're relaxed, tonight we'll be in front of the television to see who wins."

Roma took the lead in the 17th minute when Astori's powerful header from Francesco Totti's free-kick came off the underside of Orestis Karnezis's crossbar and bounced over the 'keeper's goalline.

The goal appeared to be initially ruled out by the fourth official but following protests by Roma was validated by the referee.

Television replays appeared to show that not all of the ball had crossed the line, an incident which is likely to reinforce existing calls for goalline technology to be introduced into Italy's top flight.

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