Juventus against Roma was billed as the heavyweight clash of the season as the top two teams in Serie A met for the first time.
Both came into the game in impressive form, although five points separated them in the table. The Bianconeri have recovered from a poor start to win nine straight games, and Rudi Garcia’s resurgent side were undefeated this term, but two red cards meant there was no chance of that run continuing.
After dominating the opening 25 minutes, the Giallorossi seemed to switch off, with Francesco Totti becoming more concerned with making poor tackles than shadowing Andrea Pirlo.
Freed from the Roma skipper’s close attention, the Juve midfielder was able to conduct the game in his usual fashion, directing his side forward and into the ascendancy. In the end, the home side ran out 3-0 winners and open up an eight-point lead at the top of Serie A.
Gianluigi Buffon: 6.5
The goalkeeper, whose incredible unbeaten run came to an end last time out against Atalanta, was in superb form here. He made a couple of good stops from long range shots in the first half but had a much quieter second 45 minutes as Juventus dominated the game.
Andrea Barzagli: 6.5
His calm demeanor and superb ability to read the game was just what was needed here. While Giorgio Chiellini and Leo Bonucci pressed forward, the 32-year-old anchored the defence, nullifying Roma’s attacks and forcing them backwards.
Leo Bonucci: 7.0
His role in the middle of the back three has always been crucial, but here he was more influential in attack. He got on the scoresheet to make it 2-0 and was key in earning the penalty which led to the last goal.
Giorgio Chiellini: 6.5
Without a striker to mark, the big defender was free to join the attack at regular intervals, although he still tracked back well when needed. He made a couple of needless fouls, but a challenge on him led to Daniele De Rossi being shown a straight red card.
Stephan Lichtsteiner: 7.0
Famous for trolling the Giallorossi, the Swiss fullback dominated young Brazilian Dodo and seized control of the right flank. He closed down Gervinho very well defensively and supplied a vital outlet when Juve gained possession.
Arturo Vidal: 7.5
His head-to-head battle with Kevin Strootman was expected to be a key factor in deciding this match, and he won hands down. He opened the scoring with a neat finish whilst also making seven tackles and two interceptions. He left the field to a well-deserved standing ovation.
Andrea Pirlo: 6.5
Back from the injury which had kept him out in recent weeks, the Bearded Genius was neutralised by Francesco Totti early on but came into his own as the match developed. He notched a vital assist to Bonucci on the second goal.
Paul Pogba: 6.0
He was perhaps the one player whose place in the starting lineup was in doubt. The decision to opt for him over Claudio Marchisio was not exactly vindicated by a sub-par performance from the French youngster.
Kwadwo Asamoah: 6.0
Back on the flank after covering in midfield in Pirlo’s absence, the Ghanaian mirrored Lichtsteiner by controlling the flank and locking up Roma’s wide players.
Carlos Tevez: 6.5
He never gave up today, as always: pressed when he was asked and withdrew to a deeper position when Conte’s tactics demanded it. He managed only an hour before his lack of fitness told, yet he still contributed the assist for Vidal’s opener.
Fernando Llorente: 6.5
He held the ball up well, won it in the air from Roma’s in-form central defenders, whom he kept occupied while Vidal and Tevez ran beyond him and caused problems. He had a superb display that statistics cannot quantify.
Antonio Conte: 7.0
The coach faced perhaps the biggest domestic challenge of his two-and-a-half years in Turin, and he passed with flying colours. His decision to drop deep in the first half meant his players were fresher as the game wore on, and Rudi Garcia blinked first, altering formation as he sought to counter.
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