- Associated Press - Monday, May 2, 2016

ROME (AP) - Francesco Totti made another statement to Roma’s ownership by scoring a late equalizer in a 3-2 win at Genoa on Monday that kept alive the Giallorossi’s hopes of finishing second in Serie A.

However, Gonzalo Higuain’s 31st and 32nd goals of the season gave Napoli a 2-1 victory over Atalanta and kept the southern club two points ahead of Roma in the race for a direct Champions League berth.

Two rounds remain.

In his 24th season with Roma and approaching his 40th birthday, Totti is still waiting for his contract to be extended despite having scored four goals in his last four matches - all as a substitute.

“Over the last 25 years he’s had an impact on plenty of matches, so I don’t see why he shouldn’t continue doing so,” Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi said.

Totti’s latest goal came with an explosive free kick through Genoa’s wall and Stephan El Shaarawy then scored the winner three minutes from the end after being set up by fellow forward Edin Dzeko.

“Totti gave us a big hand with some items from his repertoire, things that only he knows how to do - such as the magic of his right foot,” Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said. “Totti is a diamond and you don’t wear diamonds every day. You put them on for special evenings.”

Mohamed Salah had given Roma the lead six minutes in before Panagiotis Tachtsidis and Leonardo Pavoletti put Genoa ahead.

Totti has 304 goals for Roma in all competitions and 248 in Serie A, second on the all-time list to the 274 scored by Silvio Piola, who played from 1929-54.

Revived since Spalletti replaced Rudi Garcia in January, Roma stretched its unbeaten run to 15 matches - a streak that includes 12 wins highlighted by a 1-0 victory over Napoli a week ago.

Roma has already secured at least third place, which carries a berth in the final round of playoffs for the Champions League.

In Naples, Higuain scored early by meeting a pass from Marek Hamsik with an acrobatic volley inside the box then rose between two defenders to head in his second in the 77th.

Higuain alone has scored more goals than last-place Hellas Verona (30) has as a squad.

Atalanta pulled one back with a late own goal from Raul Albiol.

Also, Napoli midfielder Allan hit the crossbar in the second half on a rainy night at the San Paolo stadium.


Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asdampf

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