30.08.2015 20:28 - in: Serie A S

      Roma prevail in the capital

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      The Giallorossi take home all three points with a 2-1 victory over ten-man Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico

      Roma recorded their first win of the new Serie A season as second-half goals from Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko overcame a Bianconeri outfit that saw Patrice Evra sent off in the 78th minute.

      Paulo Dybala pulled one back for the visitors with three minutes of normal time remaining, but despite some frantic attempts to level matters in the final stages they could not find an equaliser nor avoid a second successive reverse of the campaign.

      Rudi Garcia’s men started the brighter of the two sides, knocking the ball around with pace and precision to create a few early openings, but without properly troubling Gianluigi Buffon. However, the goalkeeper would have his right post to thank for keeping out Pjanic’s whipped shot midway through the first half.

      What had been a fast-paced opening period quickly became more fragmented as some tough tackling ensued, raising tempers and keeping further opportunities to a minimum, as the teams entered the break goalless.

      The hosts would enjoy the majority of the attacks again in the second period, as Pjanic and Dzeko were both thwarted by Buffon. But the two Bosnians would soon get the better of Juventus’ keeper, the former curling in a 61st minute free-kick, the latter powering home a header from an Iago Falque cross 18 minutes later.

      The visitors responded with a goal of their own in the 87th minute, Paulo Dybala turning in Roberto Pereyra’s cross to give his team a glimmer of hope of finding an equaliser, which very nearly arrived were it not for Wojciech Szczêsny’s heroics to keep out Leonardo Bonucci’s header in injury time.

      With Alvaro Morata unable to turn in the final chance of the encounter, Nicola Rizzoli eventually brought down the curtain on a high octane match, meaning the visitors returned to Turin empty-handed.

      Roma burst out of the traps from the moment Rizzoli blew the first whistle. Falque’s ball from the left just evaded Dzeko in the box, bouncing out towards an onrushing Alessandro Florenzi. The right-back fell to the ground inside the box but the hosts’ penalty shouts were waved away by the experienced referee.

      Falque came close to opening the scoring himself in the eighth minute, as the Giallorossi midfield doubled up on Paul Pogba to dispossess the Frenchman and feed the ball to the Spanish forward, who shot marginally over the crossbar.

      Moments later, Florenzi tried his luck too after receiving Mohamed Salah’s ball wide out on the right, but the full-back dragged his effort wide of the target.

      Juventus’ first chance of the evening fell to Mario Mandzukic, but the Croatian was unable to get his shot in after Pogba’s cross had eluded a host of Roma defenders.

      Rudi Garcia’s men maintained a high intensity to their game and very nearly found the opener midway through the first period. After a teasing Falque ball only just missed the outstretched leg of Dzeko in front of goal, Pjanic gave the Bianconeri the biggest scare of the half on 25 minutes. The Bosnian international dispatched a whipped effort from outside the penalty box, which rebounded off the inside of Buffon’s right post before being cleared away.

      With the match having lost its previously fast-paced rhythm, neither team created any further notable openings and they entered the break on level terms.

      The Bianconeri kicked off the second half and soon mustered their best opportunity of the match so far, when Giorgio Chiellini got on the end of Paulo Dybala’s corner but Daniele De Rossi was at hand to block and Martin Caceres could not keep down his resulting shot after the ball had spilled out to the Uruguayan outside the penalty area.

      The Giallorossi responded with a neat passage of play, which left Pjanic with a chance to atone for his near miss in the opening period, but Buffon was equal to the midfielder’s effort.

      Juventus’ number one soon followed that up with an impressive block on Dzeko’s close-range strike, in which the Bosnian forward looked favourite to open his account for his new club.

      It would be his compatriot Pjanic to eventually get the better of the Bianconeri stopper in the 61st minute and it would require something special, as the player, at the centre of Roma’s best passing moves, bent a pinpoint free-kick over the wall which nestled inside the near post.

      The Old Lady looked to respond quickly and they had their own claim for a penalty turned down when De Rossi handled the ball on the edge of the box. Rizzoli pointed for a free-kick, but Dybala sent the ball over the bar.

      The visitors stepped up their efforts for an equaliser, forcing a couple of corners in quick succession, one of which fell to Pogba, who glanced his header narrowly wide from close-range.

      Buffon was called into action yet again and did very well to tip Radja Nainggolan’s low drive around the post.

      Already having to contend with an aggressive, proactive Roma outfit, the task of drawing level was made even more difficult for Allegri’s men when Evra received his marching orders in the 78th minute after two bookable offences.

      And the hosts would not hesitate to exploit the numerical advantage, as Dzeko doubled his side’s lead only a minute later, powering in Falque’s cross to send the home support into raptures.

      With the Bianconeri looking for answers, substitute Pereyra soon provided one. The Argentine flew past his marker to feed compatriot Dybala with a simple tap-in, who made no mistake to halve the deficit with only three minutes of regulation time remaining.

      The strike sparked Juventus into life and they almost found the leveller when Bonucci rose highest at a corner. With the ball destined for the top corner, Szczesny produced heroics, diving miraculously to his right to keep his team in front.

      Morata too had a chance to bring parity for the visitors, but hooked his shot over the top, as Juventus desperately searched for a second goal, but their quest ended in vain as Rizzoli’s whistle signalled full time in the capital.

      International fixtures are next up on the menu for many of Allegri’s men, who will hope for a strong response when their league campaign resumes with a home match against Chievo on Sunday 13 September.


      GOALS: Pjanic 61, Dzeko 79, Dybala 87

      Szczesny; Florenzi, Manolas, De Rossi, Digne; Nainggolan, Keita, Pjanic;
      Iago (Ljajic 89), Dzeko (Ibarbo 45+3), Salah (Iturbe 77).
      Substitutes: De Sanctis, Castan, Capradossi, Anocic, Gyomber, Uçan,
      Paredes, Ibarbo, Gervinho, Totti.
      Coach: Garcia

      Buffon; Caceres, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner (Pereyra 73), Pogba,
      Padoin (Cuadrado 75), Sturaro, Evra; Dybala, Mandzukic (Morata 62).
      Substitutes: Neto, Rubinho, Barzagli, Rugani, Vitale, Alex Sandro, Zaza.
      Coach: Allegri

      REFEREE: Rizzoli
      ASSISTANT REFEREE: Cariolato, Tonolini
      FOURTH OFFICIAL: Padovan
      GOALLINE OFFICIALS: Banti, Irrati

      BOOKINGS: Pogba 22, Chiellini 37, Pjanic 58, De Rossi 64, Evra 75 + 78,
      Dzeko 77

      DISMISSALS: Rubinho 66 (protests from the substitutes' bench), Evra 78 (two
      yellow cards)

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