Mon, Jan 25, 2010 - Page 18 News List

LEGA CAICIO : Riise’s late header turns up heat on Juve’s Ferrara

AFP , ROME

AS Roma’s John Arne Riise, center, watches his header evade Juventus goalkeeper Alex Manninger, right, and hit the back of the net as Michele Paolucci of Juventus looks on during their Serie A match at the Olympic Stadium in Turin, Italy, on Saturday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Norway leftback John Arne Riise popped up in stoppage-time to head home the winner as AS Roma condemned 10-man Juventus to an eighth defeat in 11 matches with a 2-1 success in Turin on Saturday.

The defeat will surely leave Juve coach Ciro Ferrara on the brink as his mis-firing team slumped to a sixth defeat in eight Serie A clashes, and to make matters worse Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was dismissed.

The win moved in-form Roma to within two points of second-placed AC Milan.

They now have eight wins and three draws in their last 11 league matches, but club captain Francesco Totti doesn’t want to get carried away.

“We’re going through a great period in terms of results, we stood up to Juve,” Totti said. “Where do we want to get to? Right now, we’re not thinking about anyone else but ourselves.”

Ferrara sprung a surprise in his line-up, leaving out former World Player of the Year Fabio Cannavaro in favor of Nicola Legrottaglie, possibly in order to combat the aerial threat posed by Roma forward Luca Toni.

Both coaches’ plans were thrown out the window a couple of minutes in, however, as Toni pulled up with a calf injury and was replaced by Totti, making his comeback from injury.

The switch seemed to suck any attacking threat out of Roma and Juve dominated the first 45 minutes.

Bosnia veteran Hasan Salihamidzic fired well over from distance on nine minutes, before Brazilian forward Amauri rose highest in a crowded box to meet Zdenek Grygera’s right-wing cross, heading wide under pressure from Nicolas Burdisso.

Juve’s best chances were coming from the flanks and Amauri won another header on 31 minutes, this time from Fabio Grosso’s left-wing cross, but again he directed it wide. Next it was a devilish free-kick from Diego that caused a problem in the Roma defense, but Alessandro Del Piero couldn’t get enough contact to direct his header on target.

Juve needed a stroke of luck or a moment of genius to break the deadlock and they got both six minutes after the restart.

Diego’s low ball into the box spun up off Juan’s foot, Del Piero was perfectly placed for the dropping ball and his left foot volley from a tight angle low into the far corner was pure vintage.

If Juve had needed something special to find the net, Roma needed a helping hand, and they got it courtesy of Grosso and the referee.

Rodrigo Taddei ran onto a through-ball in the box and tried to turn inside Grosso, but the fullback left out an arm, Taddei flopped to the ground and the referee pointed to the spot, with Totti slotting home the penalty.

Juve resorted to the tactic that served them well in the first period and substitute Antonio Candreva lofted a high ball into the box, but Amauri’s header was straight at goalkeeper Julio Sergio.

The hosts were almost made to pay as Taddei released the breaking Riise with Juve caught upfield, but Buffon sacrificed himself, charging out of his area and bringing down the marauding Norwegian fullback to prevent him going through on goal. Buffon barely even waited for the red card before walking off the field.

Then it was Riise again who charged forward deep in stoppage-time to meet a David Pizarro cross at the back post.

Earlier, Catania cruised to a crucial 3-0 victory at home to Parma to improve their chances of beating the drop, leaving them 18th, just one point from safety.

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