AS Roma and Juventus played out an exciting 2-2 draw at the Stadio Olimpico as Cristiano Ronaldo’s heroics allowed the 10-man visitors claw back from a goal down to grab a point in their second game of the 2020-21 Serie A season.
Jordan Veretout opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 31st minute after Adrien Rabiot was deemed to have handled the ball inside the Juventus box. Cristiano Ronaldo then equalled proceedings for the Bianconeri with a penalty of his own just before half-time after Lorenzo Pellegrini handled inside his box.
However, parity proved short lived as moments later Veretout scored from a devastating Roma counter-attack to reclaim the lead. When Adrien Rabiot was sent off in the 62nd minute for a second bookable offence, the home side were handed a numerical advantage.
However, not for the first time, Ronaldo made his trademark leap to power in a header in the 69th minute to level the scores as 10-man Juventus hung on for a creditable draw in the capital.
On that note, here are the five major talking points from the game.
#5 Andrea Pirlo’s formation conundrum with Juventus
Andrea Pirlo, who is only two games into his Juventus tenure, changed from the 3-5-2 that worked so well against Sampdoria on the opening day to a 4-4-2 against AS Roma, perhaps unnecessarily. It allowed Roma to defend with ease, resulting in Pirlo swiftly reverting to the 3-5-2.
One could sense that there was a need to play to Alvaro Morata’s strengths with a 4-4-2, but perhaps Pirlo’s inexperience as a coach showed as he attempted to fix something that wasn’t broken.
There is a sense that the Juventus boss is still not aware of his best starting-XI. The preference for the midfield energy of Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Weston McKinnie in a 3-5-2 means that there may not yet be a place for new signing Arthur who came on after the hour mark.
Pirloball was in full flow against Sampdoria, but as Roma proved, the young coach still has to rein in his temptation to tinker.
#4 Edin Dzeko - both the hero and the villian
With Edin Dzeko rested against Hellas Verona by Paulo Fonseca, Roma looked toothless in the goalless draw in that game. After his move to Juventus fell through following the signing of Alvaro Morata by the club, Dzeko was restored to the Roma starting lineup, with Roma looking like a more potent side.
The Bosnian and Montenegrin international was a thorn in Juventus’ flesh throughout the game as his battles with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci ensured that there was space for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pedro to work their magic. Roma’s creative duo thrived, allowing Jordan Veretout to profit while Dzeko toiled without reward.
However, while Dzeko’s presence elevated the performances of those around him, the striker ought to have put the game to bed for Roma when he had two presentable chances. It’s a streak of poor finishing that has crept back into Dzeko's game like it did last season at times, which is perhaps why the Giallorossi were open to parting with his services.
As it stands, Dzeko remains AS Roma’s most crucial player, and they simply will have to live with it for now.