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Juve Stroll Past Roma To Extend Their Lead At The Top Of The Table – Serie A Gameweek 18 Recap

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Serie A finally resumed for 2014 in the best way possible, a meeting between the top two teams in Juventus and Roma. They faced off in Turin, where the Giallorossi suffered one of their most humiliating defeats of 2012/13, losing 4-1 under Zdenek Zeman.

What a difference a year makes. A win would bring them within two points of the champions, while another loss to the Bianconeri away from home would all but confirm a third consecutive Scudetto for The Old Lady. Upon returning for the second half of the previous campaign, Roma were sixth, 12 points behind the leaders.

Surprisingly, Roma began the half with the majority of possession and creating the most dangerous scoring chances. Adem Ljajic came the closest off of a Francesco Totti assist, but Giorgio Chiellini completed a last-ditch tackle to prevent the Serbian from finishing.

Juventus coach Antonio Conte opted to sit deep in the defensive third and counter when the opportunity presented itself. It paid off on 17 minutes, when Carlos Tevez was given room to run in the penalty area by Daniele De Rossi. Arturo Vidal received the lay-off, and scored low past Morgan De Sanctis. Just like that, the holders took the lead despite not dominating the match like many expected.

However, both Conte and Rudi Garcia persisted with their tactics. The visitors earned a couple of opportunities through Dodo and Miralem Pjanic, but still no end product.

Juve, on the other hand, delivered a second goal halfway through the second interval. Andrea Pirlo’s free kick was met by Leonardo Bonucci on the back post, doubling the advantage.

That prompted a change from Garcia. He brought on Mattia Destro and Vasilis Torosidis to form a 4-2-3-1, taking off Dodo and Pjanic to make room for them.

Instead, the Giallorossi were reduced to 10 men when De Rossi’s reckless challenge on Chiellini forced referee Nicola Rizzoli to send off the Italian international. Then moments later, Roma were down to nine when Leandro Castan handled the ball off the line. Mirko Vucinic calmly scored the resulting penalty to make it 3-0 and put the game to bed.

Watch the highlights here

Other results

  • Kaka scored his 100th goal in AC Milan’s 3-0 win over Atalanta. That’s just the Rossoneri’s second win in 10 games as they slowly gain ground over the relegation zone.
  • Udinese fell 3-1 to Hellas Verona as the Gialloblu continue to push for a European spot. However, Antonio Di Natale announced his retirement, which marks the beginning of the end of one of the most prolific strikers in Italy.
  • Napoli finally got back onto form by defeating Sampdoria 2-0. They’re now just two points behind Roma for second place.
  • Fiorentina won 1-0 over Livorno, but it came at a price. Giuseppe Rossi injured the same knee that he tore ligaments in, but the early diagnosis isn’t as bad as first feared. The Italian international may miss up to two months, not as serious as many thought. He may well be fit for the World Cup.
  • Lazio were victorious in their first match under new (old) boss Edy Reja. They beat Inter 1-0 at home, which may kick start a resurgence of sorts for the Biancocelesti.
  • Catania won (!) in Francesco Lodi’s return. He scored a penalty and delivered an assist in a 2-0 victory over Bologna. The latter sacked their coach Stefano Pioli as a result, naming former Genoa caretaker Davide Ballardini as his replacement.

Other results:

Chievo 0-0 Cagliari; Genoa 2-0 Sassuolo; Parma 3-1 Torino