Roma 3-4 Juventus: Five talking points from a crazy night in Rome

At the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Sunday evening, Roma and Juventus played arguably one of the most exciting matches the Serie A has thrown up in recent years.

Tammy Abraham headed in the opener in the 11th minute. Paulo Dybala equalized with a brilliant shot seven minutes later. Roma regained the lead through a deflected one from Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the 48th, and Lorenzo Pellegrini doubled it with a superbly taken free-kick in the 53rd. However, Manuel Locatelli reduced the score to 3-2 in the 70th, substitute Dejan Kulusevski equalized in the 72nd, and Mattia De Sciglio overturned it completely in the 77th.


Roma had a great opportunity to save a point from the wreckage four minutes later as referee Davide Massa gave them a penalty and sent Matthijs de Ligt off with a second yellow for handling the ball inside the box, but Wojciech Szczesny saved Pellegrini’s shot from the spot.

Pellegrini – From hero to villain

Lorenzo Pellegrini played very well for a large part of the match, crowning the performance with that free-kick which Szczesny had absolutely no chance of saving. A very dynamic attacking midfielder, he was a great support to the forward duo of Abraham and Felix Afena-Gyan along with Mkhitaryan. 

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It was probably all the more surprising when he took the late penalty in the way he did, offering Szczesny in the Juventus goal every chance of stopping it. Needless to say, the Polish ‘keeper took it gladly and instead of adding three points to their tally, Roma were left empty-handed in the end.

Federico Chiesa out for the season

Just half an hour into the match, Chiesa was left on the ground holding his knee in agony following a battle for the ball against Chris Smalling. It should be said that Smalling did nothing wrong, but the clash resulted in a rather obvious injury for the Juventus winger and the initial decision to allow him to play on seemed questionable at least. A few minutes later, he was down again, clearly unable to continue any longer. Kulusevski entered the fray in his place.

It looked bad straight away, but a scan the next day revealed that Chiesa had torn his ACL, which means he’s been ruled out for the rest of the season. It’s a big blow to Juventus, as well as Italy as they face the World Cup play-offs against North Macedonia and, if they win, the winner between Portugal and Turkey in March.

Paulo Dybala

Regardless of the outcome of the match, it should be said that Roma looked the better team for practically 70 minutes and had deserved their 3-1 lead before it all fell apart for them. The only player that seemed capable of hurting them in that period, the player that can be said to have held Juventus head above the water and in the contest, was Paulo Dybala.

The Argentinian is undoubtedly a player of high class, very difficult to contain, though he could probably do with those around him getting more involved when he has the ball at his feet in the final third, as opposed to looking on as he takes on the entire opposition defence.

Nonetheless, the goal he scored, mainly against the run of play at the time, was a real work of art.

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Mourinho will have been angry with defenders

This is the question that vexed a lot of people after this match. If there’s one coach who always knew how to ‘close the shop’, defend a lead and bring the game to a favourable end, it was Jose Mourinho. It makes what happened in this match – his team dropping a two-goal lead and losing in the end – all the more surprising.

The fact of the matter is, Mourinho has been trying to establish a different style since taking over at Roma last summer. His team have been playing mostly attractive, attacking brand of football, and it seems they’ve paid the ultimate price for it on Sunday. They seemed a bit too relaxed after Pellegrini scored their third goal, believing the points to be in their bag already.

That’s obviously something you can’t afford when facing Juventus, and Mourinho will have had a lot of words to say to his players after the match, mostly defenders.

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Alvaro Morata, who came on for Juventus just after the hour mark, beat Roger Ibanez far too easily on the right flank and delivered a fine cross to Locatelli, completely unmarked on the edge of six yards for the visitors’ second goal. Just two minutes later, Locatelli and Morata were involved again as the Roma defence failed to prevent them, along with Juan Cuadrado, from wreaking havoc inside their box before Kulusevski eventually slammed in from close range. It took another five minutes for Morata, Weston McKennie and De Sciglio to play a fine combination on the left and completely outwit Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Bryan Cristante and Smalling, before De Sciglio burst into the box, took advantage of a poor clearance from Smalling and scored the winning goal.

This is definitely not something Mourinho expects to see from his defenders.

The top-four race

Juventus and head coach Manuel Pellegrini, who was suspended from leading his team from the dugout in this match, will obviously have been dismayed by the injury which has left them without Chiesa for the remainder of the season, but otherwise, they will have been very happy with the evening’s work in Rome. Their chances of winning the Scudetto this term aren’t great, but it’s absolutely imperative for them to secure a place in next season’s Champions League, and this win has brought them much closer to that goal even though there is a lot to be played for yet.

Juventus are now fifth with 38 points, three less than Atalanta in fourth.

As for Roma, this defeat has hurt their chances greatly. They are now seventh with 32 points, the same tally as Fiorentina in sixth, though the Viola have two games in hand on them, as well as Juventus. The race still promises to be very tight to the end, but the Giallorossi seem to have slipped out of it at this point.

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Author: XenBet