11.05.2014 20:03 - in: Serie A S

    Juve edge closer to 100-point finish!

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    A late Dani Osvaldo winner against his former club Roma takes the Bianconeri on to 99 points, breaking a Serie A record previously established by Inter in 2007.

    A last-gasp Dani Osvaldo strike in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time enabled the Bianconeri to see off this season’s title rivals Roma and break Inter’s record Serie A finish by climbing on to 99 points with one game to spare.

    A lively, end-to-end affair lacking in clear-cut chances looked set to be drifting towards a goalless finish, only for substitute Osvaldo to pounce on Stephan Lichtsteiner’s neat cut-back and consign his former employers to their first home reverse of the campaign.

    It was the hosts who started the brighter of the two sides, controlling possession and making inroads into Bianconeri territory, yet they were unable to convert their dominance into decent goalscoring opportunities, instead finding themselves restricted to speculative efforts from Francesco Totti and Michel Bastos.

    Juventus then lifted themselves and carved out two promising openings in the space of four minutes. First Kwadwo Asamoah lashed over from inside the area after being teed up by Fernando Llorente on 10 minutes, before Carlos Tevez spurned an opportunity to test Lukasz Skorupski after neatly shimmying away from his markers in the box.

    The end-to-end nature of a competitive first half continued as Roma had a goal ruled out for a Vasilis Torosidis handball on 17 minutes, while Totti’s fierce half volley from the fringes of the area brought gasps from the Stadio Olimpico crowd as it whistled narrowly over Marco Storari’s crossbar.

    Back came the Bianconeri and it was Fernando Llorente’s turn to test the reflexes of Skorupski both with a low shot that was turned behind for a corner and a header, comfortably gathered by the Polish shotstopper, following a fine burst into the box and cross from Pogba.

    Despite at this point looking the most likely of the two sides to find the breakthrough, Antonio Conte’s title winners had Storari to thank for preserving a clean sheet ahead of the break after the goalkeeper stood his ground to pull off an excellent save when faced with Gervinho bearing down on him one-on-one. 

    There was still time for a final moment of first-half drama when Pogba shifted the ball onto his left foot and dispatched a strike across goal that cannoned back off the upright.

    Roma started the second 45 minutes on the front foot, drawing Storari into action almost immediately through Torosidis’ spirited burst and subsequent strike which was parried clear by the ever-alert custodian. This paved the way for a lengthy spell of pressure for the hosts in which they enjoyed plenty of possession but very rarely tested the back three or Storari.

    One opportunity created against the run of play could have grabbed the lead for the Bianconeri, Stephan Lichtsteiner gathering Pirlo’s quickly taken free-kick before drawing a diving save from Skorupski on 70 minutes.

    Late efforts from Radja Nainggolan and Alessandro Florenzi, thwarted by smart saves by an inspired Storari, were counteracted by Pogba’s low drive as the game appeared to be heading towards a goalless stalemate.

    But there was to be one final twist in the tale as Osvaldo, on in place of Llorente with 15 minutes remaining, crashed Lichtsteiner’s centre into the top corner to spark wild scenes of celebration on the touchline and in the stands.

    The Bianconeri will now look towards next Sunday’s clash with Cagliari at Juventus Stadium, safe in the knowledge that a draw would be enough to wrap up a sensational campaign in style with a 100-point finish.

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