Early goals from Merih Demiral and Cristiano Ronaldo saw Juventus claim a 1-2 win over Roma at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening. The Bianconeri’s victory meant they returned to the top of the Serie A table at the midway point of the season.
Juve back on top of Serie A
Maurizio Sarri’s men needed just three minutes to grab a hold of the lead: Dybala delivered in a set-piece into the box and it met Merih Demiral at the far post, who tapped home his effort from close range to make it 0-1. The scoreline then doubled in the 10th minute after the referee awarded a penalty for a foul on Dybala inside the box: Cristiano Ronaldo stood up to take the spot kick and he made no mistake in sending Pau Lopez in the wrong direction to convert his effort.
Roma came very close to pulling a goal back in the 19th minute when Szczesny couldn’t get the perfect save off Florenzi’s cross, Pellegrini then struck the rebound and it was blocked by Rabiot’s torso on the line. Demiral was then forced into making an early change due to a knee injury, which saw Matthijs de Ligt brought on. Roma were pressing in attack and they won a free-kick on the edge of the box in the 35th minute, but they were reduced to taking shots from set-pieces.
The first real chance of the second half came in the 65th minute when Edin Dzeko struck the upright: the ball then moved into the path of Under, who was brilliantly denied by Szczesny on two occasions from close range. However, the referee then awarded a penalty to Roma upon consulting with VAR, as Alex Sandro was judged to have handled the ball prior to Szczesny’s saves. Perotti stood up to take the effort and converted it with ease to make it 1-2. Maurizio Sarri then implemented two changes straight away by taking off Dybala and Ramsey and putting on Higuain and Danilo. The Argentine had the ball in the back of the net in the 78th minute, only for it to be ruled out for offside by VAR. Both teams went looking for a late goal: Roma in search of an equalizer and Juventus another goal to put the result beyond a doubt, but the scoreline remained intact and was enough for the Old Lady to take home all three points.
Roma XI: Pau Lopez; Florenzi, Smalling, Mancini, Kolarov; Diawara, Veretout; Zaniolo, Pellegrini, Perotti; Dzeko
Substitutes: Fuzato, Mirante, Juan Jesus, Bruno Peres, Spinazzola, Cetin, Cristante, Under, Kalinic
Juventus XI: Szczesny; Cuadrado, Demiral (de Ligt 19’), Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Rabiot, Pjanic, Matuidi; Ramsey (Danilo 69’); Dybala (Higuain 69’), Ronaldo
Substitutes: Buffon, Pinsoglio, De Ligt, Rugani, De Sciglio, Danilo, Emre Can, Bernardeschi, Douglas Costa, Higuain, Pjaca