All bark, no bite: Roma lack Juventus' killer instinct

The Giallorossi were arguably the better team in their 1-0 defeat to Antonio Conte's men on Sunday but once again showed they are not quite at the champions' level
Roma have had a brilliant season, casting aside their sleeping giants tag, but Sunday's last-minute defeat to Juventus was evidence that they have some way to go before being the Bianconeri's equals.

A cacophony of boos greeted Pablo Osvaldo on to the pitch when Antonio Conte sent him on with the tie looking destined for a 0-0 stalemate. Perhaps motivated by the jeers he was subjected to at the Stadio Olimpico, the ground he ditched for Southampton last summer, he gladly accepted the role of villain by scoring the winner with practically the last kick of the game.

Grinning with masochistic delight as he walked out onto his old stomping ground, Osvaldo did not see much of the ball for the most part but deep in stoppage-time ruined Roma's final home game of the season by striking smoothly into the top corner from inside the box.

'Say what?' | Juve striker Osvaldo toys with the home fans after scoring the winner in Rome

As they watched their former hero hold his hand up to his ear, Roma fans must have wondered how differently their season could have ended had they kept up the stunning start to 2013-14 they unexpectedly showed.

Their incredible winning streak - 10 wins in a row from the opening game - saw them sit at the top of the league for a long while, threatening to usurp Juve as kings of Italy.

But draws became commonplace for the Giallorossi, while Juve were typically ruthless, winning every single one of their home games and only dropping points in five Serie A matches heading into the Stadio Olimpico clash.

And, again, Roma's lack of bite was evident on Sunday. The hosts were arguably the better team on the evening, threatening stand-in Bianconeri shot-stopper Marco Storari on a number of occasions, yet they could not break the deadlock.

Vasilis Torosidis put the ball in the back of the net but it was correctly disallowed as the defender had scored (albeit accidentally) with his hand, Gervinho fluffed a one-on-one chance as half-time loomed and substitute Alessandro Florenzi was unfortunate to be denied late on.

But, thanks to Osvaldo's first Serie A goal since his January loan move, Juve provided a timely reminder that it is small margins which ultimately decide title winners. Roma simply have not shown that killer instinct.

It is far from a bleak future for Rudi Garcia's men, however. Miralem Pjanic's new deal - announced just before kick-off - is brilliant news considering the superb 12 months he has enjoyed and the midfielder was probably the best player on the pitch on Sunday.

Gervinho has shed his Arsenal skin and shown why the Gunners splashed out for him in the first place by shining under his former Lille coach Garcia in a Giallorossi shirt.

Marshalled in midfield by Daniele de Rossi, the capital club definitely could fight for the title until the last day next year if they bolster up their squad in the summer, patch up their weak spots and learn to finish off teams.

But this Serie A season has once again belonged to Juventus as they sit one win or draw away from becoming the first Italian team to break the 100-point barrier.

They might be their equals in the near future, but for now Roma will have to accept that they and everybody else in the league remain in Juve's shadow.