Roma beat 10-man Juventus in thrilling style
Juventus 1-2 AS Roma
Revenge is a dish best served cold and on Saturday night Claudio Ranieri avenged his dismissal from the ranks of Juventus last summer.
Roma’s last-gasp winner inflicted further gloom upon the Old Lady who have already endured a chilling winter.
It was dynamic play from David Pizzarro which led to the dramatic winner. The Chilean fully launched himself into a tackle on Diego and emerged victorious with ball. He promptly swung a delicious ball into the box with John Arne Riise on hand to apply the final stroke to the move.
It was cruel irony for Ciro Ferrara.
Juventus had produced one of their best performances in weeks. Momo Sissoko returned from the Africa Cup of Nations and added extra bite to the home side’s midfield.
The Mali international bounded around the pitch, lurching into challenges and breaking up Roma attacks. It allowed Brazilian playmaker Diego with more space to operate further up the pitch.
Claudio Ranieri’s original plans had to be discarded after a mere two minutes. New signing Luca Toni dejectedly trudged off the pitch with a suspected calf strain, much to the dismay of the fans of the Giallorossi who will have to remain patient before the ‘To-To’ partnership is unleashed on Serie A.
The first half lacked much incident with both sides gradually feeling their way into the match. It appeared the freezing conditions at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin were having a telling effect on the players.
Six minutes after the half time break the game burst into life.
Alessandro Del Piero fired Juventus into the lead with a spectacular volley which flew into the Roma net. It was the captain’s first goal in Serie A since May and it gave his side a deserved lead.
The Bianconeri had suffered five defeats in their previous six games. Ferrara’s team was low on confidence and unsurprisingly they were unable to defend their slender lead.
When Fabio Grosso made the slightest of contact with Roma’s Taddei in the penalty area, the Brazilian flung himself to the turf in dramatic style. The referee duly awarded the penalty.
Francesco Totti resumed spot kick duty having replaced the injured Toni. Er Purpone guided his penalty past Buffon’s desperate fingers to level the scores.
It appeared Roma were going to snatch a winner with six minutes remaining. Norwegian defender Riise escaped the intentions of the Juventus defence. He bore down on Buffon’s goal and the keeper had no other option but to cynically foul the left back in no man’s land to prevent a goal.
Buffon received his marching orders but it appeared a valid sacrifice as the scores remained level.
However Riise still had a telling part to play in the outcome of the match. His added-time header earned Roma a 2-1 win and condemned the Old Lady to third successive defeat.
It marked the Giallorossi’s first victory in Turin since the Fabio Capello era over nine years ago. Speaking to the Italian media after the match, Ranieri hailed the efforts of his players but insisted he held no bad feeling towards his old employers.
“I enjoyed two years in Turin but now I am happy with Roma,” said Ranieri.
The Tinkerman added: “We wanted to win for the fans who came to support us in Turin, and I am happy we did it for them.”
The result leaves Roma five points ahead of the Juventus while reducing the gap to just eight points from league leaders Inter Milan.