Juventus fought back from a goal behind to seal an away point against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. De Rossi’s sixth minute opener left the Bianconeri trailing at the break. But Antonio Conte’s men dug in with a solid second-half performance, securing a share of the spoils through Chiellini’s header and Buffon’s reflexes from twelve yards. Conte made just two changes from the team that overcame Cesena. Pirlo’s return from suspension saw the midfielder reclaim his place in central midfield after Pazienza deputised against the Seahorses. Vucinic’s thigh strain meant the frontman was forced to miss out on the opportunity to face his former employers. Nevertheless, the midweek return of Del Piero and Giaccherini’s goal in the Coppa Italia gave the manager a pleasant selection dilemma – with Estigarribia eventually given the nod to replace the Montenegrin in attack. The Bianconeri began in typically combative fashion but were made to pay for a momentary lapse in concentration after just six minutes. 

The returning Totti was found unmarked from a short corner and had time and space to pick out De Rossi in the box. The makeshift centre-half sidefooted an attempt towards goal, with Vidal unable to present the ball from rolling across the line. Juve’s reaction was instant, forcing three corners in succession and applying plenty of pressure to the hosts’ drastically changed back four. And the increased spell of dominance saw Juventus fashion three opportunities on goal. Estigarribia went close with a fierce drive, Pepe planted a header over the crossbar and the former Roma youth player had a goalbound effort blocked by the brave lunge of Heinze. 

 Despite dominating possession and territory, Conte’s men were contained by Roma’s diligent back four, who were well marshalled by the effervescent Argentinian. A brief lapse by Taddei at the back post almost resulted in Estigarribia levelling affairs on 24 minutes, but the winger’s first-time shot was beaten away by Stekelenburg. Down the other end, Barzagli – making his 200th appearance in Serie A – impressed with a number of timely interventions to prevent Totti from exerting his influence and Osvaldo from adding to his five-goal haul so far this season. Shortly before half-time, Pirlo attempted to catch the wall by surprise from a free-kick by drilling an low effort towards goal. But Stekelenburg read the danger and dived to his left to keep the midfielder at bay.

 The second period failed to bring a change in strategy for either side – hardly surprising given both managers’ love for open, expansive football. And as Juve crept further into the ascendancy, they found an equaliser on the hour-mark. Estigarribia sent the ball back across goal from the left-hand side and Chiellini stole in from deep to loop a header into the back of the net. Yet the Bianconeri’s joy was almost short-lived as Roma dusted themselves down and went straight back on the attack. Lamela was felled in the area by Vidal, presenting Totti with the ideal opportunity to end his goalless run stretching back to 22 May. However, Buffon read his rival to perfection and plunged to his right to palm the ball clear. Conte decided to inject some energy into his side by replacing Matri and Estigarribia with Quagliarella and Giaccherini. 

The substitutes had the desired effect and almost became the architects of a Juve winner. Thursday’s goalscorer Giaccherini was first to try his luck, cutting inside Taddei before curling a low attempt that was saved by Stekelenburg. And Quagliarella almost wrapped up the three points at the death as he latched onto a threaded pass from Elia but chipped against the goalkeeper. Juventus will take heart from another gutsy, determined display that sees their unbeaten run extended to 16 games in all competitions. Novara are up next at Juventus Stadium as the Bianconeri look to put daylight between themselves and Udinese at the top of Serie A. 


 GOALS: De Rossi 6, Chiellini 61 

 ROMA Stekelenburg; Taddei, De Rossi, Heinze, Jose Angel; Pjanic (Perrotta 74), Viviani (Simplicio 58), Greco; Lamela; Totti, Osvaldo (Borriello 86). Substitutes not used: Lobont, Rosi, De Cesare, Borriello, Caprari. Manager: Luis Enrique 

 JUVENTUS Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio; Pepe (Elia 86), Matri (Quagliarella 67), Estigarribia (Giaccherini 72). Substitutes not used: Storari, De Ceglie, Pazienza, Del Piero. Manager: Conte 

 REFEREE: Orsato 

ASSISTANTS: Di Liberatore, Romagnoli 


 BOOKINGS: Pjanic 53, Vidal 63, Greco 64, Bonucci 67, Quagliarella 69, De Rossi 91 

source: juventus.com

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