Juventus stormed back to the top of Serie A courtesy of a dominant four-goal display against Roma. Two Vidal strikes inside the opening eight minutes put the Bianconeri in full control before Pirlo added a third ahead of the break. Marchisio made certain of the points by netting goal number four moments after the restart. Antonio Conte made just one change from the 2-1 win over Lazio last time out. De Ceglie stepped in for Pepe as the Bianconeri reverted to a 3-5-2 system. Bonucci featured wearing a protective mask, while Quagliarella partnered Vucinic up front. Any doubts concerning the team’s nerve in the light of Milan’s failure to overcome Bologna were immediately cast aside in a frantic opening period.
De Ceglie found himself in space on the left-hand side and sent in a low cross which evaded the Giallorossi backline, leaving Vidal with the simple task of stroking a left-footed shot past Stekelenburg. And just as the fans regained their composure following the early goal, Vidal pounced again. This time it was Vucinic who played him in on the right-hand side of the area, with the Chilean drilling a right-footed shot into the far corner to double Juve’s lead. The opening two-goal salvo clearly took the wind out of Roma’s sails. Luis Enrique’s side attempted to muster a fightback but found themselves constrained by the strong pressing tactics adopted by Conte’s men. Speculative attempts from Jose Angel and Gago failed to trouble Buffon in the Bianconeri goal.
But it was to get even worse for the visitors midway through the first-half as a glorious pass by Vucinic sent Marchisio racing in on goal. The midfielder coolly rounded Stekelenburg but was sent to ground as he shaped to shoot. Bergonzi had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and giving the goalkeeper his marching orders. Luis Enrique opted to sacrifice Borini as substitute Curci donned the gloves to face Pirlo’s penalty. And the goalkeeper stuck to his task, diving low to his right to keep out the midfielder’s spot kick, only to see the ball fall back to the Azzurri international who made no mistake second time around. The three-goal cushion failed to change the Bianconeri’s attitude, with Conte a continual presence on the sidelines, urging his team to push for more. And further reward almost came shortly after the restart when Marchisio sent in a fierce close-range strike that was gathered by Curci.
But the ‘Little Prince’ did not have to wait much longer to add his name to the scoresheet as Juve picked up where they left off. De Ceglie’s low cross was delicately knocked into his path by Vucinic, and the midfielder found the bottom corner with a neatly placed finish. Conte opted to freshen up the side by introducing Borriello, Del Piero and Giaccherini at varying stages of the second-half in place of Vucinic, Quagliarella and Vidal. The captain almost weighed in with goal number five but fizzed his 30-yard shot over the crossbar. The result sees Juventus go three points clear of rivals Milan and extend their winning run to six consecutive games, gathering increasing momentum in their quest to keep the Scudetto dream alive.
JUVENTUS 4-0 ROMA
GOALS: Vidal 4, Vidal 8, Pirlo 29, Marchisio 52
JUVENTUS Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal (Giaccherini 67), Pirlo, Marchisio, De Ceglie; Vucinic (Borriello 57), Quagliarella (Del Piero 61). Substitutes not used: Storari, Caceres, Pepe, Matri. Manager: Conte
ROMA Stekelenburg; Rosi, Kjaer, De Rossi, Josè Angel; Perrotta, Marquinho, Gago; Pjanic (Lamela 61); Borini (Curci 28), Osvaldo (Bojan 57). Substitutes not used: Taddei, Heinze, Greco, Totti. Manager: Luis Enrique
REFEREE: Bergonzi ASSISTANTS: Niccolai, Di Liberatore FOURTH OFFICIAL: Damato BOOKED: Bojan 85 SENT OFF: Stekelenburg 26