Juventus
    Juventus
      05.10.2014 20:20 - in: Serie A S

      Late Bonucci magic settles showdown at the summit

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      The Bianconeri go three points clear of nearest challengers Roma after running out 3-2 winners in an incredible game at Juventus Stadium. Leonardo Bonucci’s late volley is preceded by two Carlos Tevez penalties.

      A sensational 86th minute Leonardo Bonucci volley from the edge of the area allowed the Bianconeri to steal an early march on fellow title contenders Roma with a 3-2 win on a pulsating night of Serie A action at Juventus Stadium.

      It was the hosts who seized the initiative on 27 minutes when Tevez converted from the spot after Maicon was adjudged to have handled Andrea Pirlo’s free-kick inside the box.

      But the Giallorossi, also boasting a 100 per cent start to the season in the run up to tonight’s encounter, turned the game on its head in 12 first-half minutes through Francesco Totti’s penalty and Juan Iturbe’s neat strike following good work from Gervinho.

      Urged forward by a capacity crowd in Turin, Juventus immediately rallied and pegged their visitors back when Tevez gleefully swept home his second of the night after Paul Pogba had been upended by Miralem Pjanic in the area.

      A frantic first-half gave way to a more tentative second period, in which substitute Alvaro Morata went close with a header that cannoned back off the bar.

      But there was to be one last-gasp twist in the tale when Bonucci steered a stunning volley home with four minutes remaining to preserve the Bianconeri’s imperious start to their title defence.

      One of two changes from Wednesday night in Madrid was the return of Pirlo, starting his first Serie A game in 140 days at the expense of Arturo Vidal, while Kwadwo Asamoah also came back into the fold, stepping in for Patrice Evra on the left-hand side of midfield.

      A barnstorming start to proceedings saw the Bianconeri immediately in the faces of their opponents, playing to a high tempo and swarming any red shirts in possession with heavy pressing.

      Tevez in particular proved an early thorn in the Giallorossi side, dropping off deep to good effect and linking the play with intelligent passing. He also looked sharp in the final third, too, cutting across the edge of the box before seeing his shot blocked on 14 minutes.

      Down the other end, Giorgio Chiellini appeared bright and alert, successfully nullifying the threats of Totti and Gervinho in a matter of
      minutes, whilst it was his defensive partner, Leonardo Bonucci, who drew applause for a sumptuous long ball in the direction of Claudio Marchisio, only for the midfielder to place his first-time effort wide of the target on 21 minutes.

      As the Bianconeri upped the ante, the breakthrough appeared to be just around the corner - and so it proved. After Maicon handled Pirlo’s free-kick in the area, Tevez stepped up to slot home his seventh goal of the season, sending Lukasz Skorupski the wrong way from the spot.

      Five minutes later, Roma were level. Again the goal came from 12 yards, this time Stephan Lichtsteiner the guilty party after tangling in the area with Totti, who dusted himself down to level the scores up by finding the bottom corner.

      With tempers threatening to boil over on several occasions during a fractious first-half, Gianluca Rocchi found himself the centre of attention as he dished out yellow cards to three players from each side as well as ordering Rudi Garcia from the touchline.

      Buoyed by their equaliser, Roma began to exhibit some slick passing and movement and carved the Juventus defence open through Gervinho’s disguised pass which played Juan Iturbe in to beat Gigi Buffon at the near post on 44 minutes, silencing the home crowd in the process.

      However, there was to be further first-half drama in store as the Bianconeri surged forward and earned their second penalty of the night in time added on, Tevez again remaining cool under pressure to dispatch an emphatic strike past Skorupski.

      With Angelo Ogbonna on for Martin Caceres at the start of the second period, Juventus began by probing for a way through the Giallorossi backline but the visitors were more than happy to keep possession and slow the pace down from the frenetic levels it had reached during the opening 45.

      Adding fresh impetus to the Bianconeri attack was Alvaro Morata, who almost netted his second goal in as many Serie A games when he met Lichtsteiner’s cross from the right, only to see his header bounce agonisingly back off the upright with nine minutes remaining.

      With Roma tiring as the clock ticked down towards full-time, Bonucci produced an incredible effort from the edge of the area to settle the affair once and for all and send the hosts into the international break with a three-point lead over their nearest title challengers.

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