Juventus were all set to clinch the Serie A title at the home of one of their fiercest rivals, but matters turned out a little differently against Roma
Football is the beautiful game for so many reasons, one of them is how unpredictable it can be. For months we all thought Juventus had all but won Serie A, but losing to Roma by two goals (3-1) means the Bianconeri still need three points from their last two games to secure the final victory. There is still a lot of work to do.
The Stadio Olimpico was sold out for the game against Roma’s bitter rivals, which also coincided with Francesco Totti’s last game against Juventus. A game in which the other captain, Daniele De Rossi, stepped up to lead Roma into battle. A battle that saw the Giallorossi do their upmost to give Juventus a hard time from the first minute to the last.
Roma started the better side, but Juve opened the scoring only to have De Rossi immediately equalising. Knowing a draw would be enough, led Juve to play a slow pace and possession to the home team, concentrating on defence. And the Giallorossi made the most of it, putting three past Buffon to delay Juve’s Scudetto party and shine a ray of hope on Roma’s own title ambitions.
It seems impossible to see Roma win the league. Yet, this victory shows how the Giallorossi have grown over the past two seasons, giving Juve a slightly tougher time compared to previous seasons, making the uncertainty grow and creating the base for a possible Scudetto challenge in 12 months time.
Next year, Totti won’t be there, and his fans giving everything to bid him farewell were allowed a moment of magic within a fantastic game. The ‘King of Rome’ was given two minutes by coach Luciano Spalletti to face his biggest rival one last time and salute his audience.
Meanwhile Juventus missed out on their first match point to win the title – as a point would have been enough to secure the victory – and will now need a win next week against Crotone to lift the trophy. The Coppa Italia final coming up against Lazio on Wednesday, the challenge of the Champions League final in Cardiff on the third of June: Juve had plenty of distractions against Roma, but now have to concentrate on clinching the Serie A title.
Roma scored thanks to De Rossi, Radja Nainggolan and Stephan El Shaarawy, as well as dominating in midfield and at the back thanks to the quality of Leandro Paredes and the strength and aggressiveness of De Rossi, Kostas Manolas and Antonio Rudiger. A complete game for Roma, combining possession and quality going forward with incredible defensively solidity.
The Giallorossi and the Bianconeri essentially swapped places for one night, Juve becoming fragile and losing, Roma showing its mean side and – like Juve usually – taking home an battling three points showing vast superiority over the opponent.
It is hard to predict what can happen now in the season’s finale. Most probably Juventus will grasp the Coppa Italia, win the Scudetto next weekend and then focus everything on the Champions League final. But in the beautiful game, never say never. Roma’s win has just made everything more interesting.