Juventus sealed a surprise 2-0 triumph against Roma with a two-goal second-half salvo ...
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Milos Krasic and Alessandro Matri both scored in an impressive second-half performance which takes The Old Lady within two points of the Giallorossi, while also serving a huge blow to their hopes of securing that fourth Champions League spot.The match kicked off at a frenetic pace with both sides surging from end to end in search of an early goal.
Simone Pepe had Juventus’ first real effort on goal in the fifth minute when he scampered down the left channel and fired off an angled drive which fizzed inches wide of Doni’s left-hand post.
However, this was about as good as it got for the Old Lady in the first 45, as Roma gradually swarmed their opponents in midfield and began creating the better opportunities.
Mirko Vucinic was looking particularly threatening, and drew a strong save from Marco Storari in the Juve goal when he delicately flicked the ball past Leonardo Bonucci and unleashed a powerful half-volley from the edge of the box.
Storari made an even better stop on the half hour when he instinctively thrust out an arm to block Franceso Totti’s stinging close-range volley, and Bonucci completed the job when he raced in to hook the ball off the line to safety.
Vucinic had been the architect, picking out Totti’s darting run with an intelligent clipped pass and he continued to look dangerous, cutting in off the left wing and hitting a swerving drive which left Storari rooted to the spot as it flashed narrowly wide.
But the Juventus custodian made it a hat-trick of important first-half saves in the first minute of stoppage time as he sprang to his left to push Daniele De Rossi’s thunderous strike wide of the post.
Yet it was the visitors who created the last chance of the half with a quick counter-attack straight from the resultant corner.
The move ended with Matri hooking an effort toward goal. Despite being underworked for much of the half, Doni proved he was alert by dropping to his left to clutch the ball and ensure the sides would go in level at the break.
The half-time interval seemed to transform Juventus, who emerged for the second 45 minutes looking invigorated and with a renewed sense of purpose. In what appeared to be a complete role reversal from the first half, it was now they, and not Roma, who looked comfortable, composed and in control.
So it was little surprise when the Old Lady opened the scoring in the 59th minute. Fabio Grosso and Matri worked a neat exchange on the left, allowing Grosso to bomb to the byline before showing superb composure to delay his cross and wait for the opportune moment to clip a perfect cross for the on-rushing Krasic to blast a stunning first-time volley into the net from 12 yards.
Jeremy Menez came within inches of restoring parity when he broke down the right and crashed a shot against the face of the crossbar.
The chance, however, was a real one-off in the second half, and Juventus secured the win just two minutes later.
Grosso was again the provider, sending Matri one-on-one with Doni with a superb first-time slide rule pass. And the in-form striker was coolness personified as he stroked the ball between Doni’s legs to put the result beyond doubt.
Next weekend, Juventus will look to build on this impressive result when they continue their quest for Europa League qualification by hosting Genoa in an early Sunday fixture.
For Roma, meanwhile, it will have to be a lot better when they travel north to meet current fourth-placed side Udinese on Saturday evening.