Roma vs. Juventus: 4 Things We Learned
This game could have decided the Scudetto. Instead, it had no bearing on the standings.
And yet, Juventus played with almost a full squad, and even at 0-0 for most of the match, they kept on going for the win. It was Dani Osvaldo who scored the winner right before the final whistle, picking this moment against his former team to score his first Serie A goal with the Bianconeri.
The Juventus players all ran onto the pitch to celebrate. It was like they won the title all over again, though they had won another title of sorts. They now have 99 points this season: a Serie A record. Inter had amassed 97 during the 2006-07 season.
Questions persist about the quality of opposition, whether Juventus really are as good as the stats suggest. But this is historic. This is a team that does not rest. This squad is managed by Antonio Conte, after all.
Here are several things we learned from the match that wasn’t so meaningless.
Osvaldo Makes Late Case
His buyout clause remains £15.6 million, per the BBC, and Osvaldo isn’t worth that much. He has played mostly off the bench at Juventus.
This goal was unexpected. He was all alone in the box, but he blasted the ball into the corner. The shot was actually on net.
He has put just two shots on goal in 13 attempts, per ESPN FC, in Serie A. But this was timed well. He put his hand to his ear to hear the abuse. Roma had shooed him away last year. He had fights in training, and so off he went to Southampton.
There, he had the same issues, but not so with Juventus.
Osvaldo told Juventus.com:
The best thing was the hug from my team-mates. They were almost happier than I was! I respect my old teammates, and have many friends still in Rome, but now I’m at Juventus and I’d like to stay here, just as I’d like to go to the World Cup.
The Back-Ups Show Their Talent
Marco Storari is simply as solid a back-up goalkeeper as you can find in Italy. We don’t hear anything negative from him. He genuinely appears happy to be playing with a championship team, as a teammate of Gianluigi Buffon.
Storari is now 37, and he was last a full-time starter with Messina from 2003-2007. He could still start elsewhere, for a lesser club, if he'd like.
But he is still sharp. In Rome, he was making superb saves. Across from him in net for Roma was Lukasz Skorupski, on the opposite end of age as well. The 23-year-old Polish international looked steady, and he gobbled up the ball and dove to save it.
Roma Still Find Positives in Season
Roma lost in the end, but coach Rudi Garcia said that the result does not “change this extraordinary season we’ve had,” as per Roma's official Twitter account. Indeed it was: a club-record haul in points (85) and a second-place finish. Roma had finished the previous three seasons sixth, seventh and sixth, respectively. They're back in the Champions League.
So the players did a lap around the Olimpico one last time this season, blasted balls into the stands and applauded the supporters. The players brought out their kids, and it was all festive.
There was one despicable sight. Some of the Roma ultras unfurled a banner: "Forza Daniele!" Daniele De Santis is the Roma ultra charged with the attempted murder of a Neapolitan last week.
Three fans were shot in the area before the Coppa Italia final. Sunday's match was pushed up three hours to avoid any problems.
Another Game, Another Record for Juventus
This season is about much more than a third straight championship. Juventus have left their mark in Italy in a way that they have not in Europe.
Next year, the Champions League has to come first. Progress has to be made, but the records here are huge: most-ever wins in a single season in club history (32); most points ever by any Serie A club (99); and a 30th title.
With a draw against Cagliari next weekend, they will reach 100 points. No other team has done that in Serie A history.
Conte is still not sure of continuing with Juventus, but he is proud. He told Sky Sport Italia (h/t Football Italia) after the match:
We certainly have a lot to celebrate, as this is an incredible campaign. We’ve beaten Roberto Mancini’s Inter record of Serie A points and it will be tough for anyone to match. … Not even if my wildest dreams did I expect this the moment I sat on the Juventus bench for the first time. We broke all the records and there’s one more game to go.
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