FULL TIME: Roma 1 – 1 Juventus

As Roma’s club anthem was belted out by a full Stadio Olimpico, visiting Juventus knew they were in for a tough encounter as third visited fifth in the Serie A table.

The Bianconeri knew that a victory in Rome on Sunday evening could confirm Champions League football for next season, but they also haven’t won an away game since January. With talisman Paulo Dybala taking on his old club, this was always going to be an exciting encounter with some stories waiting to be written.

Juventus and Federico Chiesa in particular started brightly. However the first close call of the game came when Roma’s Rasmus Kristensen met a ball unmarked towards the back of the box.

His header struck the crossbar and sent a warning to Juventus that they ought to sort out their sleepy backline. They didn’t.

Roma opened the scoring through some bright play from youngster Tommaso Baldanzi down the right wing. The ball eventually broke to Paulo Dybala in the box and things got scrappy, but in the end Juve would fail to clear a Bryan Cristante effort and Romelu Lukaku prodded home his 11th goal of this Serie A season.

The goal also came courtesy of some shocking defending from Juventus who looked lke a side who knew their boss might be headed for the exit door. It was poor by Andrea Cambiaso to allow Baldanzi to wriggle free. In truth Cambiaso looked like he had given up on the ball, but his opponent kept chasing and got his reward. Federico Gatti didn’t cover himself in glory withi his soft goal line clearance either.

Yet, after 30 minutes central defender Bremer nodded in an equaliser for the visitors. Federico Chiesa stood up the perfect ball with his left foot from the right hand side, and the Old Lady were back in the game just like that. Bremer got up well but Chiesa was allowed too much time on the wing.

Paulo Dybala was the shock sub at the break. He was replaced by Nicola Zalewski. Seconds into the second period Federico Chiesa picked up the ball and beat a defender, he set himself and unleashed a mighty left-footed effort at goal. This one cracked off the inside of the post, but mercifully for Roma, rolled out for a goalkick.

Roma and Daniele De Rossi were fuming that Juventus’ Timothy Weah wasn’t sent off for a second yellow in the second half, but in all fairness it would have been a very harsh dismissal. Weah passes the ball and follows through, catching Leandro Paredes, but he doesn’t make dangerous contact, and nevermid intent, it isn’t even a tackle: it’s a pass. It was a good call by the referee to not make a call, and as you can imagine Paredes followed some rolling around on the floor with a miraculous recovery.

As the game ebbed and flowed you felt a bit of magic from somebody like Chiesa might make the difference in the end. Adrien Rabiot had a well-hit effort saved, whilst Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini had a few efforts of his own. Then Kristensen came close again but his attempt was blocked on the line.

The chances kept coming at both ends, none moreso than for Tammy Abraham in stoppage time. The Olimpico nearly erupted but Wojciech Szczęsny made a fantastic save to deny the English striker.

In the end it was a fantastic game of football that might well have been a dull and cagey one. Both teams went for the 3 points, for Roma they would have been huge, but for Juventus a draw would have been perfect. It was a pleasant surprise that the visitors played their part in an entertaining fixture that was end to end and could have gone either way.

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