Roma 1-2 Juventus: Three standout players as Italian Champions record a remarkable victory | Serie A 2019-20
It was an exciting match in Rome to end the first half of Serie A (19 matchweeks) as Juventus won against Roma in a hard-fought victory to be the solo table topper. This was a game full of drama, mistakes, goals, and injuries. Juventus were flying high inside 10 minutes when a rocking start ensured that they had a 2-goal lead away from home. The game was only 3 minutes in when Merih Demiral snuck behind Aleksandar Kolarov on a free-kick and shocked the Stadio Olimpico after scoring a simple tap-in. What happened after was even worse as Roma's silly mistake led to a penalty when Jordan Veretout grabbed Paulo Dybala's shirt and fouled him inside the box. Cristiano Ronaldo did what he does best, he scored the crucial penalty and Juventus were 2-0 up inside ten minutes.
The game took an interesting turn when Alex Sandro was indicted by the VAR for a hand-ball inside the box and Roma had a chance to get back in the game. Diego Perotti made no mistake from the spot and it was 2-1 with about 25 minutes remaining. Juventus defended with all their heart and tried to attack on the counter. The home side played some good football and even created some clear chances but none hit the back of the net and the defending champions took the all-important 3 points.
While it was a high-intensity exciting football match, but was ruined by injuries to two very talented youngsters. Nicolò Zaniolo and Merih Demiral both got injured during the game and the signs indicate towards a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) for the Roma forward, but more on that later. Keeping everything in mind, we look at three standout players from this epic clash:
The Juventus goalkeeper had a very strong game against a top team away from home. Szczęsny made some really smart saves and looked in control throughout the match. The Polish international was tested for the major part of the game and he was up to the task.
With 4 saves and 2 clearances, the shot-stopper looked confident in his abilities. Szczęsny played out from the back in many situations to help the team deal with Roma's high press. There was a little scare for the keeper when Edin Dzeko hit the post but the 29-year old keeper had it covered. Szczęsny could not do anything about Diego Perotti's penalty and would be gutted not to keep a clean sheet after a strong outing against a top side.
Another game and another big goal for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese continued his good form from the last match and got another goal in a very important win for Juventus. It was Ronaldo's 14th league goal of the season and his ninth in the last six Serie A appearances.
Ronaldo was electric as always and was linking up well with all his team-mates. He was the team's main goal threat throughout the game and is now looking better and better as the season progresses. The 34-year old set up Gonzalo Higuaín beautifully but the striker could not remain onside and wasted a golden opportunity. There was a certain swagger about Ronaldo's game and he looked confident with his flicks and tricks.
#1) Paulo Dybala
Paulo Dybala was excellent for the away side today. The Argentine was everywhere in the final third for Juventus. He dropped deep when needed, drifted wide to create chances and to open spaces, and was clever enough to pounce on Jordan Veretout to win the penalty. His movement was exceptional and it was harsh on him to be subbed-off at 69'.
The 26-year old was quick, creative and displayed elegance against a tough opposition. He was involved in almost all the build-ups and showed immense work-rate while tracking back and pressing higher up the pitch. Dybala was a part of whatever good was happening in the game for Juventus and was arguably the best player on the pitch.Published 13 Jan 2020, 07:56 IST