ROMA TOPS JUVE IN CLASH OF THE TITANS
It was first against second when Juventus paid a visit to the Stadio Olimpico to take on high flying Roma, and it was a cracking match between the two top teams. Antonio Conte’s men had looked incredible over the last two seasons but have been faced with an early challenger in Totti’s men, and all of Italy was waiting to see how the sides would fare against each other.
Despite having scored an own goal after coming on against Verona, Michael Bradley was given a start in midfield over Marco Verratti for AS Roma, perhaps a defensive move on their part to help solidify against Juventus’ midfield maestros. However, manager and captain Francesco Totti had said before the game, “We will not look to drop everybody back and play ugly football. We will go out with confidence and win this match.”
Those plans were given a serious blow just a few minutes in, however, when Kevin Strootman went down grasping his hamstring. It became known later that the Dutchman had pulled the muscle and will miss 4-5 weeks of football because of it. Miralem Pjanic came on to replace him.
Approaching halftime, it seemed the two sides would go in level. Both teams’ midfields had been battling strongly and shown flashes of brilliance but had failed to create a clear cut goal scoring opportunity. However, it was a poor tackle from Giorgio Chiellini on Alessio Florenzi just outside the box on the left of the semicircle that set up Francesco Totti for a hit at goal.
The player-manager and of course legendary captain stepped up with confidence and whipped the ball over the wall and in off of the post, leaving Buffon stranded and resulting in wild celebrations in the Olimpico as the Giallorossi took an unexpected 1-0 lead into the break.
After the break, Roma came out slightly more defensively and looked to stop Juventus’s inevitable assault to search for the equalizer. The Bianconeri pushed many men forward and at times put the Giallorossi under great pressure, but they survived. As the last ten minutes came, the game began to open up once again.
The first chance fell to Juventus due to a moment of inspiration from Fernando Llorente. The big Spaniard took a delightful touch to bring down Pirlo’s trademark long pass before flicking the ball through to left wing-back Paolo De Ceglie. The Italian, one on one with Morgan De Sanctis, hammered the ball off of the crossbar, only for the play to be called offside anyway.
The Giallorossi almost scored straight after when Gianluigi Buffon made an acrobatic save to deny the on-form Alessandro Florenzi and keep the game alive. However, at long last, the referee blew the final whistle, and Roma came out the victors by a 1-0 scoreline after a brilliant match of football.
Francesco Totti, the manager, captain, goal scorer, and man of the match, said to the press, “This is a brilliant feeling. Juventus are probably one of the best teams in the world, and we’ve beaten them here today. We played with a lot of heart and commitment and we thoroughly deserve to have won today. We have to focus on our match against Inter now and continue to win games.”
After that early crucial match, Serie A looks as follows: