Juventus
    Juventus
      23.12.2017 23:14 - in: Match report S

      Benatia tap-in secures win over Roma

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      The Bianconeri win their final home game of 2017, thanks to a first-half goal from former Roma player, Medhi Benatia as Wojciech Szczesny also comes up trumps

      It’ll be a Merry Christmas for the Bianconeri who earned an all-important 1-0 win over Roma on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium when Medhi Benatia was quickest to react in the box to tap home the game’s only goal.

      Both teams hit the crossbar in the final 10 minutes of a nervy match, as first Alessandro Florenzi who was left unmarked at the far post found woodwork and then Miralem Pjanic on the breakaway. Wojciech Szczesny was called upon to preserve Juve’s lead in the dying seconds, when a defensive mix up sent Patrik Schick one-on-one but the Poland international produced a stunning save sealing an eighth-straight clean sheet and three massive points.

      Juventus didn’t take long to get going in the first half, with both sides creating chances from the off, but it was the Bianconeri who took theirs in the 19th minute when Benatia put Juve in front. A corner was whipped into the box from Pjanic and Giorgio Chiellini rose highest to meet it with Roma’s Allison parrying his effort into the path of Benatia who initially hit the crossbar, but the rebound fell back to the ex-Roma man who tapped home to put La Vecchia Signora 1-0 up.

      At the other end Roma went close to equalising, when Diego Perotti’s run into the box fed Stephan El Shaaraway but Szczesny got there first to protect his side’s lead.

      In the second half Juve almost went two up, when a great passing move saw Sami Khedira set Gonzalo Higuain loose in the box, but Pipita blazed his shot over the bar. Juve enjoyed a good early spell of possession, moving the ball well in the final third but just couldn’t get the killer touch.

      At the other end, Chiellini expertly held off Edin Dzeko from getting an opportunity at goal with a terrific challenge on the Bosnian. However, the Bianconeri were nearly made to pay when a cross from Daniele De Rossi found Alessandro Florenzi at the far post, with the Italian international only able to hit the crossbar.

      Roma poured numbers forward in search of an equaliser, but Juve were able to counter from a corner and Pjanic, who had Mario Mandzukic to his left and Higuain to his right decided to go for goal with Allison palming his effort onto the crossbar. There was nearly a sting in the tail for Roma as the Bianconeri were holding on but a defensive mix-up saw second half substitute Patrik Schick go one-on-one with Szczesny. The Poland international stood firm to foil Schick bringing a roar out of the Bianconeri faithful. The Poland international then got a strong hand to Roma’s final corner of the match to clear and end the game 1-0 to Juventus.

      The win sees Juve stay one point behind Napoli at the top of the Serie A table, though Inter’s loss to Sassuolo means a four-point gap has opened up between second and third place.

      Up next Juve travel to Hellas Verona as they’ll look to see out 2017 in style.

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