Review: Roma – Juventus

Review: Roma – Juventus

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Allegri’s defensive tactics worked yet again in Juventus’ 0-0 draw in Rome. Radja Nainggolan’s red card destroyed Roma’s chances of grabbing what would’ve been a deserved victory.

Roma’s last match was a 1-0 away victory at Cagliari. It was a game that followed Roma’s CL semi-final exit, so Di Francesco fielded a mixed team. Against Juve, though, he didn’t have that luxury. Today’s lineup was: Alisson Becker on goal, Florenzi, Fazio, Jesus and Kolarov in the defense, Pellegrini, De Rossi and Radja Nainggolan in midfield, Under, Dzeko and El Shaarawy in attack. Juventus had to deal with AC Milan in the Italian cup final, something it did in impressive fashion, recording a convincing 4-0 win. Six players were missing in Allegri’s lineup from that encounter: Buffon, Asamoah, Benatia, Cuadrado, Khedira and Douglas Costa. They were replaced by Szczesny, Alex Sandro, Rugani, De Sciglio, Bernardeschi and Higuain. Barzagli, Matuidi, Pjanic, Dybala and Mandzukic rounded up the starting eleven.

Roma missed a good opportunity in the 8th minute. Pellegrini cut out a pass in Juve’s half, opening up a 2-on-1 situation with Edin Dzeko. His pass to the Bosnian was a bit behind, forcing him to have to adjust and shoot with his weaker left foot. The shot went wide. In a similar situation a few moments later, Nainggolan stole the ball from Pjanic and headed towards Juve’s box. He chose to shoot instead of passing it to Dzeko and his attempt went high over the bar. 25 minutes in, Roma was clearly the better team. Juventus’ players were happy to sit back and wait for the hosts to break their defensive formation down. Definitely not something you would expect from a champion.

Tagliavento awarded the first yellow card of the game to the former Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic. Add a couple of lost balls that led to Roma counter attacks and you have an idea of what kind of performance we were seeing from the usually dependable Bosnian. Juve needed a point to secure the Scudetto and it was playing like it. At the break, it was Roma 0 – Juventus 0.

25 minutes had passed in the second half and the most interesting moments were a Dybala disallowed goal and a Kolarov long-range effort that was blocked. The first substitution of the contest was made in the 67th minute, when Fernando Bernardeschi was replaced by Douglas Costa. Then, Radja Nainggolan, who had received a booking a few minutes earlier for pulling on Alex Sandro’s shirt, made a clumsy foul from behind on Dybala. The referee had no other choice but to show him a second yellow. In the 73rd minute, Gonalons substituted Pellegrini.

Nainggolan’s red card changed the complexity of the game, as Juventus spent more time in Roma’s half than it did during the entirety of time prior to the send off. However, Allegri’s squad showed no desire to do more than simply pass the ball around while waiting for the remaining minutes to tick away. Eventually, the final whistle came. The viewers’ suffering ended and Juventus’ title celebration began.

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