Honours even in the capital

Honours even in the capital
Honours even in the capital
Honours even in the capital

The Bianconeri maintained their nine-point lead at the summit of Serie A with this evening’s 1-1 draw over nearest challengers Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.

A tightly contested encounter, full of commitment but low on clear-cut chances, came to life midway through the second half when Tevez bent a sumptuous 25-yard free-kick over the wall and into the back of the net after Vasilis Torosidis had been given his marching orders for upending Arturo Vidal on the edge of the box.

The 10 men of Roma, however, produced a rousing response, equalising through Seydou Keita’s header before threatening to nick all three points during a frantic finale.

But Massimiliano Allegri’s men held on to preserve a useful point that keeps the Giallorossi nine adrift with 13 games remaining of the season left to play.

The clash of the Serie A frontrunners was always destined to be a closely-fought affair and both sides stuck to the script in the opening stages, showing plenty of endeavour as they aimed to wield control of the midfield battle.

Two moments on the counter provided the Bianconeri’s attacking outlet during the first half an hour, with Roberto Pereyra’s cross for Alvaro Morata intercepted by Kostas Manolas’ crucial intervention and Patrice Evra’s dangerous cutback from the byline unable to pick out a black and white shirt.

Another break from deep, engineered by Pereyra’s close control and determination just beyond the halfway line, enabled Tevez to burst towards goal on 42 minutes, only for his ambitious effort from an acute angle to roll wide of the target.

Beginning the second half with greater aggression, Juventus fashioned a decent chance to take the lead inside the opening five minutes of the restart. Pereyra was again at the heart of proceedings, slipping the ball into the path of the onrushing Vidal whose subsequent shot across goal whistled inches past the post.

The Chilean’s bursts forward were beginning to unsettle the Giallorossi rearguard and forced Torosidis to take the law into his own hands on 63 minutes, upending the midfielder with a cynical trip that saw Daniele Orsato brandish a second yellow card.

And 10-man Roma had little time to steady the ship as from the resulting free-kick, Tevez directed an inch perfect strike beyond a motionless Morgan De Sanctis.

With Juan Iturbe and Radja Nainggolan on to provide added attacking impetus, the hosts immediately rallied and forced Gigi Buffon into a diving save to keep out Manolas’ header.

Moments later, Roma were level. Another substitute, Alessandro Florenzi, whipped a set piece towards the back post where an unmarked Keita rose highest to head the ball past Buffon and a covering Claudio Marchisio on the line.

The equaliser paved the way for a frantic finale in which the Giallorossi pushed for a winner but Juventus dug deep to see out a draw which ensures their Scudetto destiny remains firmly in their own hands.

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