Juventus did the bare minimum required for all three points, as a Cristiano Ronaldo strike and Roger Ibanez own goal allowed them to leapfrog Roma into third.
This was a head-to-head for third place, although the Bianconeri also have a game in hand. Rodrigo Bentancur and Lorenzo Pellegrini were suspended, with Paulo Dybala, Aaron Ramsey, Chris Smalling, Pedro and Nicolò Zaniolo injured. Edin Dzeko was back in the squad for the first time since his row with Paulo Fonseca, but only had a spot on the bench and was stripped of his captaincy.
The opening goal came largely out of nowhere, as Alex Sandro spun away from Bryan Cristante, Alvaro Morata laid it off to Cristiano Ronaldo, who inside the D had the time to stop the ball dead with the sole of his boot and place a snooker shot into the far bottom corner with his weaker left foot. It was the first goal he scored as a 36-year-old.
Despite that, Roma had the better of the game early on and Cristante almost marked his first game as captain with a goal, his ferocious volley just wide from the edge of the area after a corner.
At the other end, Ronaldo nearly doubled his tally, as a strike took a big deflection off Marash Kumbulla to bounce off the underside of the bar and back out.
Gianluca Mancini bundled wide on another Roma corner from close range, but the Giallorossi put together numerous corners without making them count. They also had more possession, yet Pau Lopez had to make the save on a Ronaldo half-volley from a long ball.
The situation continued after the break, as Gonzalo Villar only scuffed the finish when found by a wonderful Henrikh Mkhitaryan pass. The Armenian went for goal himself with a strike charged down, as Juve found it increasingly difficult to get out of their own half.
Dzeko was finally given his comeback almost a month after the Fonseca row and immediately nodded down a long ball for the Carles Perez volley, forcing a save out of Szczesny.
However, just as Juventus were under constant pressure, they doubled their lead out of nowhere. Dejan Kulusevski got down the right and tried to roll across for Ronaldo, but Roger Ibanez accidentally bundled it over the line first for an own goal.
Dzeko came sliding in just unable to meet the Bruno Peres cross and as the move continued, Leonardo Spinazzola scuffed off target, then another Dzeko glancing header whistled wide.
There was concern for Juve in the final minutes when Leonardo Bonucci waved to the bench asking to be substituted.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk