SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 18 - 5 Jan 2014 (19.45 UK)
Juventus 3 - 0 Roma
Vidal 17 (J), Bonucci 48 (J), Vucinic pen 77 (J)
Juventus Stadium

Juventus won 3-0 and went eight points clear after ending Roma’s unbeaten record with Daniele De Rossi and Leandro Castan sent off.

It was a title battle between first and second, separated only by five points going into Turin. The Bianconeri had won their last nine in a row, while the Giallorossi were still unbeaten under Rudi Garcia. Andrea Pirlo returned from five weeks out with a knee injury and Andrea Barzagli shook off a knock. Federico Balzaretti was the only absentee as Roma opted for Adem Ljajic alongside Gervinho and Francesco Totti.

Roma had an aggressive start and after six minutes Gigi Buffon rushed out to close down Ljajic for a corner from Totti’s through ball. Miralem Pjanic needed strapping after he pulled up with a knee injury early on.

It was Juventus who broke the deadlock when Carlos Tevez drew defenders to him and turned Daniele De Rossi, then flicked a pass with the outside of his boot, allowing Arturo Vidal to burst in and score from point-blank range at the near post.

The two goalkeepers were alert on Pjanic, Dodo and Fernando Llorente, while Paul Pogba’s final pass in a blazing counter-attack was just past Tevez’s toes. It was a fiery affair, as Tevez, Giorgio Chiellini and Gervinho went into the book.

The Bianconeri were increasingly dangerous approaching half-time. A Tevez cross-shot flashed across the face of goal with nobody able to tap in and Llorente’s effort floated just over the bar. There were timid appeals for a Dodo handling offence, but he could not get out of the way of Stephan Lichtsteiner’s cross.

Juve doubled their advantage at the dawn of the second half when Pirlo curled a free kick to the back post where Leonardo Bonucci was left totally unmarked to come sliding in. It was the defender’s second goal of the season.

Rudi Garcia switched to a 4-2-3-1 system with Totti in the hole behind Mattia Destro, who replaced the not 100 per cent fit Pjanic. Juventus were forced into a change, as Tevez called to be replaced after injuring himself during a long-range shot on goal.

Chiellini timed his tackles perfectly on Destro and Totti in the penalty area, while De Sanctis smothered a Pirlo free kick.

Roma’s slender hopes of a comeback evaporated when De Rossi was shown a straight red card for his lunging challenge on Chiellini at the by-line.

The midfielder barely had time to walk off the pitch when he was joined by Leandro Castan, who was sent off for using his hand in a goalline clearance on Chiellini’s header. It was inevitably also a penalty and substitute Mirko Vucinic converted against his former club.


Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal (Marchisio 78), Pirlo, Pogba, Asamoah; Tevez (Vucinic 59), Llorente (Quagliarella 81)
Roma: De Sanctis; Maicon, Benatia, Castan, Dodò (Torosidis 55); Pjanic (Destro 55), De Rossi, Strootman; Ljajic, Totti (Florenzi 72), Gervinho
Ref: Rizzoli

Sent off: De Rossi 75 (R), Castan 76 (R)