A thunderous Francesco Totti strike was enough to secure Aurelio Andreazzoli a first win as Roma caretaker coach as his side beat Serie A leaders Juventus 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.
Despite having dominated much of the first-half, Roma were indebted to the reflexes of Maarten Stekelenburg as he turned an Andrea Pirlo free-kick around the post in a half short on chances to ensure the teams went to the interval at parity.
While the Bianconeri threatened on the break, it was the hosts who remained the dominant force and talisman Totti marked the 160th meeting between these sides with a strike of rare quality just shy of the hour mark.
Antonio Conte threw on Nicolas Anelka and Sebastian Giovinco as the league leaders chased a draw but Roma held on for a first league win over Juventus since 2004.
The sacking of Zdenek Zeman failed to rouse any sort of upshot in performance as the Giallorossi were comfortably beaten 3-1 away at Sampdoria in Andreazzoli’s first game in charge leaving them 10 points off a Champions League place in ninth.
Much of Roma’s struggles have emanated from a defence that has conceded 45 league goals and Andreazzoli made an enforced defensive change with Nicolas Burdisso replacing the injured Leandro Castan to play alongside Marquinhos and Ivan Piris in defence.
Paolo De Ceglie joined Giorgio Chiellini, Nicklas Bendtner and Simone Pepe on the injury list as the trip to Rome made it three games in seven days for Conte’s men, and the Bianconeri looked affected by Champions League lethargy as they struggled to put any sort of cohesive forward play together for much of a laboured first-half.
The Giallorossi had earmarked the area between Andrea Barzagli and Stephan Lichtsteiner as a potential weakness, but, with support from midfield often slow in joining the attack, the home side failed to create a genuine goal-scoring opportunity with Gianluigi Buffon easily dealing with the odd shot from distance.
Despite their malaise, the visitors would have taken a lead to half-time had it not been for the smart reflexes of Stekelenburg, who got down low to turn a Pirlo free-kick around the post with just under twenty minutes gone.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first with a cagey affair throwing up little in the way of clear-cut opportunities and an Osvaldo header straight at Buffon from a Miralem Pjanic cross looked a costly miss but Totti took full advantage of a loose clearance from a free kick a minute later to score the winner with a rising shot from just outside the box with 58 minutes gone.
Conte turned to the bench as his side chased at least an equaliser but the hosts remained relatively untroubled as the half drew to a close – the league leaders were rather lacklustre going forward and Stekelenburg remained a reassuring presence at the back for Roma as they saw out the half unscathed.
In fact, Roma could have had a penalty with Lichtsteiner appearing to handle a Marquinhos shot with 77 minutes on the clock but it mattered little as they brought a record of no wins in six to an end against a disappointing Juve.
Juventus left the field further aggrieved by the referee Gianluca Rocchi's decision to blow the final whistle with five seconds left of added time and Buffon up from the back for a corner, but, in truth, it would have been undeserved if they had grabbed a last-minute leveller.
- Sports & Recreation
- Francesco Totti
- Maarten Stekelenburg
- Andrea Pirlo