Juventus soar towards the Scudetto after steamrollering 10-man Roma 4-0 with Arturo Vidal’s brace, Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio.
Antonio Conte said Juve would “treble” their efforts in the final six rounds of the season and he had a full squad to choose from. It was a special game for Mirko Vucinic, who faced his former teammates, though ex-Roma striker Marco Borriello was on the bench and Fabio Quagliarella was fit to start despite a thigh problem. Leonardo Bonucci played with a protective mask after fracturing his nose two weeks ago.
The Giallorossi were pushing for a Champions League spot, but had a dire away record and were missing Nicolas Burdisso, Juan, Marco Cassetti and Bogdan Lobont. Fabio Borini and Maarten Stekelenburg started despite knocks, with Daniele De Rossi in defence, but Francesco Totti and Erik Lamela were sensationally dropped.
It took just over three minutes for Juventus to break the deadlock, as Paolo De Ceglie sprung the offisde trap down the left from a Claudio Marchisio pass and rolled across for Arturo Vidal to curl in from 11 yards with the inside of his left foot.
Juve doubled their lead with the same Chilean international, as De Rossi lost possession, Vucinic burst forward and spread the play to the right, where Vidal smashed a powerful right-foot finish across Stekelenburg into the far side netting.
It was almost 3-0 as Stek blocked a Vucinic angled drive, while Jose Angel and Fernando Gago had efforts from distance.
Giorgio Chiellini’s diving header from an Andrea Pirlo free kick saw him turn wide unmarked, as it bounced into the ground and off target.
On 26 minutes Marchisio sprung the offside trap and went clear but had flicked the ball over Stekelenburg when tripping over his leg. The referee awarded a penalty and the red card, though he was going wide and there were two Roma players nearby. Borini was sacrificed for substitute goalkeeper Gianluca Curci, whose first touch was to parry Pirlo’s penalty, but he could do nothing on the veteran’s follow-up. It was only the second spot-kick awarded to the Bianconeri this season.
A corner was cleared to the edge of the box for De Ceglie to drill just wide of the upright, while Curci smothered an audacious Quagliarella volley.
After the restart Curci took two attempts to take the sting out of Marchisio’s snapshot and Vucinic fired wide after a give-and-go with Quagliarella.
The fourth arrived when De Ceglie pulled back and Vucinic flicked it on to the edge of the D for Marchisio’s powerful angled drive into the far bottom corner past Curci’s outstretched hand.
Marco Borriello replaced Vucinic against their former club and Bojan Krkic came on for Osvaldo. De Rossi had to hoof clear from Borriello as he was preparing to pounce. Alessandro Del Piero was also introduced, much to the joy of the home fans.
It should’ve been 5-0 on 70 minutes, as Marchisio dribbled into the box but was stopped short by a crucial Curci one-handed reaction save to block the shot dead. Emanuele Giaccherini drilled wide and Del Piero blasted over.
Erik Lamela came off the bench, but could face a lengthy ban after he was caught on camera spitting at ex-Lazio full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner after he had done the four-finger wave that Totti famously made towards Juve during a Roma victory.
Sent off: Stekelenburg 26 (R)
Saved penalty: Pirlo 28 (J)