Roma-Juventus: Bianconeri Look at Home in the Capital

Adam DigbyFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2009

Juventus headed to the capital for week two, a tough test away to Roma before the international break.

After Inter’s emphatic 4-0 mauling of Milan in the Derby, it was important Ciro Ferrara and his team answered with another good performance.

A typically loud and passionate crowd packed the sold out Olympico, hoping to see the Giallorossi respond following the opening day loss to Genoa.

Julio Sergio, Mexes and Simone Perrotta came into the lineup for Roma. Juve made just two changes—Poulsen dropping to the bench to give Felipe Melo his debut after suspension and Paolo De Ceglie replacing the injured Hasan Salihamizic.

Juventus started quickly, just as it last week against Chievo, with Amauri and Tiago coming close to opening the scoring.

The partnership of Amauri and Iaquinta looked in fine form, causing panic in the Roma defense almost every time one had the ball, the big Brazilian in particular looking dangerous.

The constant barrage of attack made Roma look like the away team, a major accomplishment in one of European football's last real cauldrons.

The uncertainty in the Giallorossi backline finally brought the opening goal. Cassetti panicked on halfway and the ball stuck between his feet, allowing Diego to steal the ball and run deep into the penalty area before coolly striking it past Julio with the outside of his right foot. A great slalom run and finish followed, bringing to mind numerous goals by another player of the same name!

Prior to the game, coach Ciro Ferrara instructed his team to be on its guard at set pieces, as Roma has developed a habit of taking them quickly. His warning went unheeded, as immediately following the opener, the scores were leveled in spectacular fashion by Daniele De Rossi.

A foul inside the Juve half gave them a free kick: a short pass to De Rossi, who unleashed a terrific shot past a stunned Gigi Buffon. Melo and Tiago were too busy arguing with the official to notice the kick had been taken. Buffon was still trying to organise the defense.

Diego continued to torment Roma with his running and vision, with one pass forcing Julio into a great save to claw an Amauri header off the line.

The home side resorted to fouling Diego, bringing him down a number of times. One such foul from Perotta saw the two go nose to nose, the Brazilian visibly angry at his treatment. This seemed to take Juve’s new maestro out of the game for a while, letting Roma gain a foothold at last.

The teams were unfortunate to go into halftime all even, with Jeremy Menez sending the totally unmarked Totti through on goal. Totti went against Buffon in a one-on-one situation, a certain goal for Roma, but the worlds best keeper stuck out a hand to make a fantastic save.

Juve started the second half just like the first, taking the game to Roma. Amauri forced a save out of Julio Sergio at the near post and Iaquinta pounced on a defensive error to charge into the box. The finish was deflected over the bar by Riise's slide.

Camoranesi replaced the injured Marchisio, but Juve still dominated. Julio Sergio parried another Amauri header, and the Bianconeri finally managed to break through moments later with Diego's second of the game. He was sent through by a great Iaquinta back-heel, then turned Mexes inside out on the edge of the area and thumped a low, hard shot into the far corner.

Sensing that was going to be enough, the Juve players poured off the pitch and celebrated under their fans in the Curva, with Melo in particular enjoying himself!

Roma fought bravely for an equaliser, with Vucinic and Menez coming close. Legrottaglie came on as Juve tried to hold them off and Totti drove a low left-foot shot past Buffon, but it cracked the base of the post. Ferrara took more action, as Diego made way for Christian Poulsen.

Five minutes of stoppage time seemed to last an age as Roma still lay siege to Buffon’s goal. But Melo finally sealed the win on the counter, marking his official debut with a well-taken goal, running from the centre circle to finish low past Julio Sergio from outside the area with his left foot.

Six points from six then, and the first fixture after the break being Lazio away. Juve looked at home in the capital; Lazio will have much cause for concern ahead of their return.