09 January 2022
Winning away to Roma is always a difficult feat, but to do so in this way is as good as it gets, with the victory providing the squad with the perfect confidence boost in the midst of a tricky run of fixtures. This was certainly not one for the faint-hearted and there was a period of the game where a comeback was not on the cards, but the team’s incredible resolve and belief will ensure this success is worth more than just three points in the long run. The second half at the Stadio Olimpico was particularly frantic and at times the contest resembled a boxing match based on the speed with which the two sides kept striking each other down and getting back up. After Tammy Abraham and Paulo Dybala got on the scoresheet in the first half, Roma raced into a 3-1 lead within five minutes of the restart through goals by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini, only for Juve to respond in style with Manuel Locatelli, Dejan Kulusevski and Mattia De Sciglio bagging a trio of goals in just seven second-half minutes. That was not the end of the drama, however, as Wojciech Szczesny turned hero late on by saving a penalty to secure all three points.
ABRAHAM GIVES ROMA THE LEAD
With Massimiliano Allegri watching on from the stands due to suspension, Marco Landucci was entrusted with taking the reins in the dugout. Juve lined up with Paulo Dybala and Moise Kean in attack, with Federico Chiesa breaking forward from his starting position down the left wing. Jose Mourinho’s side started with real tempo and threatened early on when Abraham’s header was saved by Szczesny. The hosts racked up a string of four corners, the last of which proved decisive in the 11th minute when Jordan Veretout’s in-swinger was headed home by the former Chelsea forward.
DYBALA CURLS JUVE LEVEL
The opener only spurred the hosts on, as Roma ramped up the pressure, pinning the Bianconeri back and forcing Szczesny into a fine save to keep out Bryan Cristante’s low shot. The Argentine magician had other ideas, however, when he picked up Chiesa’s precise pass, took aim and sumptuously curled the ball into the far corner from the edge of the box to equalise.
CHIESA FORCED OFF
The plot took another twist in a game of real intensity when the battles in midfield led to Chiesa pulling up with a knee injury on the half-hour mark. Kulusevski replaced him on the right wing, while Weston McKennie shifted to the left. Dybala often dropped deep to help his team-mates defensively and to start moves off, but Kean found himself isolated up front and Juve struggled to build meaningful attacks. The visitors’ rearguard held firm and ensured the Giallorossi had little space to exploit, but they did carve out a chance to restore their lead in first-half stoppage time when Chris Smalling headed the ball goalwards and Abraham was only able to divert it over the bar.
ROMA STRIKE TWICE
The second half couldn't have started in a worse way for Juve. In Roma's first attack, Lorenzo Pellegrini picked out Mkhitaryan in the centre and the Armenian let fly from the edge of the box: it took a nasty deflection off De Sciglio and looped over Szczesny into the goal. Before Juve could muster a reaction, the hosts had added another as Pellegrini powered a superb free kick past the wall and into the top corner.
JUVE STRIKE THRICE
A double blow like that would have killed off most teams, but this Juve side is made of sterner stuff. Landucci replaced Bentancur and Kean with Arthur and Morata, and the Spaniard wasted little time in making his mark, laying on an inch-perfect ball for Locatelli to head in and reduce the deficit. Two minutes later (four in real time, including the VAR check), the Bianconeri were level. Morata's effort from Juan Cuadrado's cross was saved but Kulusevski pounced and struck the leveller. A topsy-turvy game might have ended there but there was more to come. Another three minutes passed and De Sciglio's pressing paid dividends as he latched onto a poor header by Smalling and fired home at the near post to make it 4-3
TEK'S HANDS SAVE THE DAY
It still wasn't over. Roma piled forward seeking an equaliser. Juve withstood the pressure but when an Abraham shot in the area came off Matthijs de Ligt's arm, the ref checked with VAR before awarding a penalty and showing the Dutchman a second yellow, followed by a red. Giorgio Chiellini came on for Dybala and Pellegrini stepped up to take the spot kick. Szczesny's cue. Having denied Veretout from 12 yards in the reverse fixture, the Pole repeated the trick against the Italy midfielder to maintain the lead – a lead Juve continued to defend with grit, courage and focus with ten men against Roma's late onslaught. The comeback was complete!
ROMA 3-4 JUVENTUS (HT 1-1)
SCORERS: Abraham 11, Dybala 18, Mkhitaryan 48, Lo. Pellegrini 53, Locatelli 70, Kulusevski 74, De Sciglio 87.
Rui Patricio; Ibanez, Cristante, Smalling; Maitland-Niles, Lo. Pellegrini (Borja Mayoral 87), Veretout (Carles Perez 78), Mkhitaryan, Vina; Felix (Shomurodov 71), Abraham.
Subs not used: Boer, Mastrantonio, Kumbulla, Reynolds, Calafiori, Villar, Bove, Zalewski
Szczesny; Cuadrado, de Ligt, Rugani, De Sciglio; McKennie, Locatelli, Bentancur (Arthur 64), Chiesa (Kulusevsky 32); Dybala (Chiellini 82), Kean (Morata 64).
Subs not used: Perin, Senko, L. Pellegrini, Rabiot, AkE, Bernardeschi, Kaio Jorge
ASSISTANTS: Carbone and Peretti.
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Giua.
VAR: Di Paolo, De Meo.
BOOKED: Cuadrado 45+3, Veretout 50, Ibanez 51, De Ligt 52, Locatelli 65, Cristante 76, De Ligt 81.
SENT OFF: De Ligt 81.