Juventus will have to wait at least another week to be crowned champions of the Serie A after Roma put in an excellent performance to defeat them 3-1. Here are five things we learned from the encounter:
5. Roman Resurgence
Roma wasn’t doing so well a few weeks ago, but they seem to have gotten back on track, grabbing two wins against quality opponents in the last two weeks. Roma isn’t the only Roman team that’s doing well; Lazio has been on fire as of late, although they did lose to Fiorentina, partly due to resting for the Coppa Italia. Rome hasn’t been the greatest city for football historically, but they field two excellent teams who could do some real damage if they perform well in Europe.
4. Juve Not Invincible After All
Juve’s myth of invincibility was shattered as they were outperformed and defeated by Roma. Of course, they did rest many of their key players for Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final against Lazio, but Roma proved that they can compete with a dazzling display of football. Nevertheless, Juventus have all but won the Serie A — a win against Crotone would seal it — and they’ll be able to focus on the Coppa Italia final, and more importantly, the Champions League final against Real Madrid.
3. Who Needs Dzeko?
Even without league top scorer, Edin Dzeko, Roma were still able to break through an excellent Juventus backline on several occasions. De Rossi, El Shaarawy, and Nainggolan were the goal scorers, and they proved that Roma can be a force to be reckoned with both defensively and offensively. Roma impressed with their ability to pass the ball around and create chances, and they’ll need more of that if they wish to improve on their poor performance in Europe this year.
2. Pretty Goals Don’t Matter, But They Sure Do Look Good
While there may not be style points, Roma scored some great goals en route to defeating the Bianconeri. El Shaarawy curled in a wonderful side-footer, absolutely paralyzing Gianluigi Buffon. That wasn’t all Roma had to offer. A wonderful pass into Nainggolan allowed the Belgian time to strike, and he took the most of his opportunity. With a cracking effort past Buffon at the near post, Nainggolan closed the game shut with Roma’s third goal of the campaign. While they may not get anything from it, they’ve certainly earned my praise.
1. Rest = Rout
Don’t rest your players. That’s what Lazio and Juventus learned this week as they both lost to arguably weaker teams. While their defeats shouldn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, it is still a valuable lesson to be learned. Without Chiellini in defense and Dybala in attack, Juventus looked static, and they were unable to cope with Roma’s constant attacking pressure. Of course, it’ll be interesting to see how this rest affects the two sides when Lazio and Juventus face off on Wednesday for the Coppa Italia trophy.
Roma XI: Szczesny 6.5; Rudiger 6.5, Manolas 7, Fazio 6.5, Emerson 7; De Rossi 7.5, Paredes 7; Salah 6.5 (Totti 93′, N/A), Nainggolan 7 (Juan Jesus 78′, 6), El Shaarawy 7; Perotti 6.5 (Grenier 70′, 6)
Unused Subs: Lobont, Alisson, Peres, Vermaelen, Rui, Gerson, Frattesi, Tumminello
Juventus XI: Buffon 5; Lichtsteiner 5.5 (Dani Alves 64′, 6) , Bonucci 6, Benatia 6, Asamoah 6; Lemina 6, Pjanic 6, Sturaro 6.5 (Dybala 69′, 6); Cuadrado 5 (Marchisio 77′, 6), Higuain 6.5, Mandzukic 6.5
Unused Subs: Neto, Audero, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Mattiello, Barzagli, Rincon, Mandragora
Referee: Luca Banti
Other Serie A Results Today:
Inter vs Sassuolo 1-2
Torino vs Napoli 0-5
Sampdoria vs Chievo 1-1
Crotone vs Udinese 1-0
Bologna vs Pescara 3-1
Cagliari vs Empoli 3-2
Palermo vs Genoa 1-0
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