Gervinho’s acrobatic finish gave Roma a 1-0 victory over Juventus in the Coppa Italia quarter-final and morale-boosting ‘revenge.’
The semi-final will see the Giallorossi take on either Napoli or Lazio on February 5 and 12, as this is the only stage of the tournament to be decided over two legs.
The Bianconeri won the Serie A showdown 3-0 in Turin earlier this month, but they went head-to-head again for the Coppa Italia quarter-final knockout round. Rudi Garcia fielded a full-strength side, with the exception of the not 100 per cent fit Miralem Pjanic and Federico Balzaretti, but Antonio Conte rotated his squad.
Radja Nainggolan had the first shot wide from distance, followed by Alessandro Florenzi, as Roma’s pressing game proved effective. Juve focused on the counter-attack and were furious when Mehdi Benatia was booked for knocking over Sebastian Giovinco around 20 metres away from goal, as they wanted a red for terminating a scoring opportunity on Pirlo’s long ball. The resulting Pirlo free kick was deflected off the wall.
Some splendid Daniele De Rossi footwork set up a chance that Francesco Totti had charged down in the box, then Kevin Strootman at full stretch just failed to get on the end of a Vasilis Torosidis cross at the back post.
Totti’s volleyed snapshot whistled just wide and Gervinho’s ball across the six-yard box was inches beyond Florenzi. The pressure was increasing and from a similar position Douglas Maicon’s ball flashed past Marco Storari, who mistimed his intervention, and needed Mauricio Isla to clear the loose ball.
Despite carrying a knock in the first half, Andrea Barzagli stayed on and Angelo Ogbonna replaced Giorgio Chiellini. Juve thought they had taken the lead straight after the restart with a Federico Peluso cushioned header at the back post, but the Isla cross had already gone out of play.
Florenzi’s looping header whistled wide from an impressive volleyed Torosidis cross, then Barzagli crucially intercepted Totti’s cross for Gervinho in the six-yard box. Giovinco wasted a good counter-attacking opportunity when his pass wasn’t quite accurate enough for Arturo Vidal. Peluso was dangerous again, nodding the ball almost out of the hands of Morgan De Sanctis.
Totti had another powerful attempt charged down in the penalty area, but Isla wasted a promising opportunity when he scuffed his shot rather than pass to Vidal in a better position to score.
Pjanic came off the bench and proved decisive. He surged forward, spread the play for Strootman down the left and the cross was flicked in off the outside of his boot from four yards to give Roma the lead.
Conte threw on Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente in a bid to turn this around in the final 10 minutes. Totti’s cross-shot was deflected to flash just past Gervinho at the back post.
Gervinho fired straight at Storari, Claudio Marchisio ballooned over the bar and Torosidis curled an audacious attempt off target. Pjanic ran forward in stoppages for a daisy-cutter that skimmed the base of the upright. Juventus needed a goal to force extra time, but Vidal lost his footing on the edge of the area to blast over.
Roma 1-0 Juventus
Scorers: Gervinho 79 (R)
Roma: De Sanctis; Maicon, Benatia, Castan, Torosidis; Nainggolan, De Rossi, Strootman; Florenzi (Pjanic 75), Totti (Ljajic 83), Gervinho
Juventus: Storari; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini (Ogbonna 46); Isla, Vidal, Marchisio, Pirlo, Peluso (Tevez 80); Quagliarella, Giovinco (Llorente 77)