Is It Time for Ciro Ferrara to Be Sacked After Juventus' Loss to Roma?

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IJanuary 25, 2010

TURIN, ITALY - JANUARY 23:  John Arne Riise of AS Roma scores his goal during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and AS Roma at Olimpico Stadium on January 23, 2010 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Juventus is a club firmly steeped in football history. As one of the biggest clubs in the world, and the most successful in Italian football history, only the best is expected of them.

Preseason, it was presumed they would challenge for the Serie A title and the Coppa Italia, as well as holding their own in whatever European competition they found themselves in.

More recently, however, the club has suffered a tainted reputation and its status as the biggest club in Italy has found its way over to Milan, where AC and Inter both battle for it.

Their recent form has been of much concern to the fans of "the Old Lady", and manager Ciro Ferrara's fate is subject to furious debate.

The most recent match Ferrara had to oversee was the battle against current holders of Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship (UWCC), AS Roma.

Claudio Ranieri returned to Juventus' Stadio Olimpico with a team on a formidable unbeaten run, 14 matches in all competitions, and had transformed Roma into a very real challenger for a Champions League spot.

Juve, on the other hand, had been the picture of inconsistency, with just three wins in their last 10 matches.

If there is one man who didn't need to be told that this form was unacceptable for a club of Juventus' stature, it was their golden boy Alessandro Del Piero, and he set about trying to turn it around from the off.

Inside the first minute he attempted an audacious lob which sailed over the crossbar, but signalled the home side's intent.

Unfortunately, this intent wasn't transferred into goals, as the first half became a story of half-chances popping up everywhere, but no one being able to take advantage.

Of these, the best chances fell for Juventus.

Amauri came close twice with headers as a result of inch-perfect crosses from Diego and Fabio Grosso, but the Brazilian striker nodded both off target.

Del Piero also came close with his head, and perhaps should have even given Juve the lead when he got on the end of a dangerous Diego free-kick towards the end of the half.

When a gilt-edge chance finally did arrive again for Juventus, the resulting goal was ruled out for offside.

A defence splitting pass found Del Piero's run, but the Juventus skipper's brilliant control and cool finish proved irrelevant as the lineman's flag went up.

Roma had one or two chances of their own in the first half, although they should have created more with the amount of good attacking bases they were able to build.

Mirko Vucinic had one such chance, cutting inside the Juve defence before firing his shot past the post and into the side netting.

Roma came out the strongest in the second half, but that didn't stop Juventus finally getting the first goal of the match.

An attempted through ball by Diego on the edge of the penalty area was blocked, sending the ball high into the Turin air and, as it came down, one of the city's favourite sons, Alessandro Del Piero, met it with a stunning volley from an acute angle.

It was almost Van Basten-esque, and not a bad way for the Italian legend to get his first goal of the season.

But if Del Piero is Juventus' talisman, then Francesco Totti is most certainly Roma's equivalent, and it was he who brought the Giallorossi level.

He had a little help in the form of Roger Taddei and a clumsy challenge by Grosso, however.

As Taddei advanced into the penalty area after Georgio Chiellini had given the ball away, he cut inside, was caught by a stray arm from Grosso, and promptly fell down.

The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, and Totti stepped up to fire the ball hard past Gianluigi Buffon, his first away goal against Juventus, a drought he was keen to show would not be missed.

As both teams pushed for a winner, gaps began to show and it looked like a matter of time before another big incident occurred.

This incident finally came in the 83rd minute as a lung-bursting run by John Arne-Riise into the Juventus half was abruptly ended by a mistimed sliding tackle courtesy of an onrushing Buffon.

The ref had no choice but to send the veteran keeper off, leaving the Old Lady down to 10 men in what was already set to be an anxious end to a massively important match.

Just when it looked like Ferrara's men may have survived the 10 minutes a man down, things went from bad to worse.

A long cross from David Pizarro found Riise at the back post deep into injury time, and the former Liverpool man made no mistake in heading it past sub-keeper Alex Manninger.

It proved to be the last significant event of the match, and it was one that leaves Ferrara's job in even more peril.

Other results in Serie A caused a drop down to sixth place for Juventus, who are now as far off fourth place as they are 12th points-wise.

A change of form is imperative, but much easier said than done. If his job isn't doomed already, Ferrara may only have a couple more weeks to save it.

Meanwhile, Totti's penalty was his fifth UWCC goal, becoming the 10th player to reach that milestone and the first from a non-English club. It was also Roma's sixth spot-kick, which is more than any other team in UWCC history has been awarded.

Of the 52 voters in the poll, 78.8 percent correctly predicted that Juventus wouldn't be able to beat Roma, so well done to everyone who got it right!


Barney's prediction: Draw (1-1)     Actual result: Roma win (2-1)

Correct prediction streak: Zero matches in a row!


Roma's run

Roma 2-1 Fulham (Roma become new champions)

Inter Milan 1-1 Roma

Roma 3-1 Bari

Atalanta 1-2 Roma

Roma 2-1 Basel

Roma 1-0 Lazio

Sampdoria 0-0 Roma  

CSKA Sofia 0-3 Roma

Roma 2-0 Parma

Cagliari 2-2 Roma

Roma 1-0 Chievo

Roma 3-1 Triestina

Roma 3-0 Genoa

Juventus 1-2 Roma


(Click here to see the complete history of Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship)


Roma's next title defence comes on Tuesday as they face struggling Catania in the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.


Form book (last five matches): Roma - DWWWW; Catania - WLWDW

Barney's prediction: Roma 2-0 Catania


What are your predictions for this upcoming fixture?

Can Catania finally end Roma's superb unbeaten run?

Who will make the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia?

Voice your opinions in the comments section!


Video highlights of Juventus 1-2 Roma can be seen here.


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