ROME (AP) — Roma was both classy and fortunate to beat Napoli 2-0 Friday and match the best start in Serie A history with its eighth consecutive win.
Miralem Pjanic scored twice for the Giallorossi in the 1 vs. 2 clash.
First, the Bosnia midfielder found the net four minutes into first-half added time with a sublime free kick that went over Napoli's wall before dipping down into the top corner. Then he added a penalty in the 71st after Napoli captain Paolo Cannavaro was shown a red card for taking down Marco Borriello inside the area, leaving the visitors with 10 men.
"We're doing great things," Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi said. "Eight consecutive wins count for something. They're important points but we need to continue, otherwise it serves for little."
Napoli wasted three close chances. Goran Pandev failed to finish with only the goalkeeper to beat and Lorenzo Insigne and Gokhan Inler each hit the post.
"The penalty changed everything," Napoli coach Rafa Benitez said. "Except for the first 20 minutes we played very well — better than Roma."
Former Napoli great Diego Maradona was in attendance but he had little to cheer for.
"Unfortunately I don't play anymore," Maradona said when asked about the loss.
Roma matched Juventus, which also won eight consecutive matches to start the 1985-86 and 1930-31 seasons. The Bianconeri went on to win the Serie A title on both occasions.
Juventus also won nine straight in 2005-06 but its title that season was stripped in the "calciopoli" match-fixing scandal.
"I'm pleased because today Totti's Roma matched Platini's Juventus," Roma coach Rudi Garcia said.
Roma moved five points ahead of Napoli and Juventus, which visits Fiorentina on Sunday.
Perhaps even more impressive than its record is Roma's goal differential, with 22 scored and one allowed.
Roma hasn't won the title since 2001 and the winning start is all the more surprising considering Roma finished sixth last season, missed out on Europe and has a new manager — Frenchman Rudi Garcia — who had never previously coached in Italy.
The start is also a boon to Roma's American owners, who took over the club in 2011 and faced criticism in their first two seasons.
16 Week Curriculum With Instructions, Lesson Plans & CNG Conversion Kit