Serie A - Juve back on top after draw at Roma

Mon, 12 Dec 21:42:00 2011

Juventus returned to the top of Serie A on goal difference after a 1-1 draw with Roma at the Stadio Olimpico put them level on points with Udinese.

FOOTBALL Juventus celebrate a goal by Giorgio Chiellini in the Serie A match at Roma on Dec. 12 - 0

Daniele De Rossi opened the scoring in the fifth minute for the home side, but Giorgio Chiellini levelled matters for Juventus just after the hour, while Roma skipper Francesco Totti missed a penalty a minute later.

De Rossi started at centre-back for Roma, who had Juan, Fernando Gago and Bojan Krkic all suspended after getting red cards in the 3-0 defeat at Fiorentina.

Totti, Erik Lamela and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo were all handed starts, whilst youth team player Federico Viviani made his full Serie A debut in midfield, at the age of 19.

Marco Cassetti, David Pizarro, Simon Kjaer, Fabio Borini and Nicolas Burdisso all missed out with injuries in a defensive crisis for Luis Enrique’s Roma.

For Juve, ex-Roma striker Mirko Vucinic was replaced by Marcelo Estigarribia.

Roma took the lead in the fifth minute, and through the unlikely source of De Rossi, the makeshift centre-half.

Totti took a short corner and looped the ball to the back post. De Rossi rather mis-hit the speculative volley towards goal, but Arturo Vidal completely mis-kicked on the line and the ball dribbled into the Juventus goal.

Antonio Conte’s men hit back immediately, with Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg needing to beat out a swerving Alessandro Matri shot, though the Dutchman was then rooted to the spot as Leonardo Bonucci’s free header whistled wide.

In the 34th minute, Stekelenburg needed a strong arm to keep out Estigarribia's left-footed shot across goal, but it was proof that the visitors were definitely in the driving seat.

And perhaps they should have levelled eight minutes before half-time when Vidal set up Simone Pepe in the box with a lovely reverse pass, but the winger shot straight and weakly at Stekelenburg.

However, the chance came as Roma gave the ball away in midfield, the home side’s possessional profligacy a feature of the first half.

Juve playmaker Andrea Pirlo, who had been well marshalled by the man-marking of Miralem Pjanic, finally got a sight of goal in the 39th minute with a free-kick awarded after Viviani fouled Marchisio 25 yards from goal.

His shot through the wall was well saved by Stekelenburg low to his left, though.

Five minutes into the second half, Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli cleared from Osvaldo as he prepared to shoot home Totti's cross from the right.

And it was Barzagli’s defensive colleague Chiellini who levelled matters with a close-range header on 61 minutes. Vidal poked the ball wide to the left for Estigarribia and - though the Paraguayan miskicked his effort - the Italy defender got between De Rossi and Gabriel Heinze to head the loose ball home.

Roma came right back up the other end, and were awarded a penalty after Vidal tripped Lamela in the box.

However, Totti’s penalty was beaten away by Gianluigi Buffon in the Juventus goal.

The game was end-to-end now, with Chiellini for Juve and De Rossi for Roma both magnificent as they attempted to thwart the opposition.

Roma’s Pablo Osvaldo got himself a glimpse of goal on 79 minutes when he cut inside Marchisio on the edge of the box and tried to chip Buffon, but the ball floated over the crossbar.

In the final five minutes, both sides had chances to win the game. First, Juventus substitute Fabio Quagliarella was denied by the shoulder of Stekelenburg after he had been set through on goal by fellow substitute Eljero Elia.

Then, at the other end, Totti over-elaborated after being set up by Lamela, by cutting back to shoot left-footed rather than relying on his right, and ended up shooting straight at a Juventus defender.

Juve now have 30 points, with Roma 12 back in ninth.

Nick Royle / Eurosport

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