Wed, Dec 14, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Juventus gain point to go back to top

AFP, ROME

AS Roma’s Gabriel Heinze, right, vies with Andrea Pirlo of Juventus during their match in Rome’s Olympic Stadium on Monday.

Photo: AFP

Juventus came from behind to draw 1-1 at AS Roma on Monday and return to the top of the Serie A table.

Daniele De Rossi had given the hosts an early lead before Giorgio Chiellini equalized in the second half.

However, Roma captain Francesco Totti then missed a penalty as Juve stretched their unbeaten start to the season to 14 games.

They are now ahead of Udinese — 2-1 winners over Chievo Verona on Sunday, on goal difference, with AC Milan and SS Lazio two points further back.

Roma came into the game with a selection crisis that saw midfielder De Rossi lined up as Gabriel Heinze’s centerback partner, while teenage midfielder Federico Viviani was thrust into a league debut.

Emblematic striker Totti also made his return to the starting lineup with Bojan Krkic suspended.

And it was the hosts who came flying out of the blocks with a goal after six minutes, although it was one Juve’s Arturo Vidal won’t want to see again.

Totti crossed from the left and found De Rossi 15 yards out, but all the makeshift centerback could do was awkwardly help it goalward on the volley.

The ball was heading straight to Vidal and bounced in front of him, but the Chile midfielder’s wild swipe completely missed the ball and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was left to watch in horror as the ball sneaked inside the post.

From there on it was all Juve in the first period.

Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg had to save smartly from Alessandro Matri.

Then Roma’s makeshift fullback Rodrigo Taddei produced a carbon copy of Vidal’s air-swipe only this time the ball ran to Marcelo Estigarribia 20m out and Stekelenburg came to his teammate’s rescue.

Vidal hit a speculative effort wide before slipping in Simone Pepe whose shot on the turn was poor and caused Stekelenburg few concerns.

The goalkeeper then claimed a header from Stephan Lichtsteiner and held on to a low Andrea Pirlo free-kick.

Heinze made a crucial sliding interception from Pepe’s cross to deny Matri a simple tap-in.

Juve equalized just past the hour mark through Chiellini’s determination, reacting quickest to Estigarribia’s scuffed, bouncing shot to beat Stekelenburg to it and head home.

And yet moments later Roma had a penalty when Vidal, who was not having the best of days, was adjudged to have brought down Erik Lamela.

However, Buffon read former international teammate Totti’s spot-kick perfectly and beat out the powerful hit.

Roma were doing better than they had in the first half and Pablo Osvaldo chipped just over the bar after a neat turn on the edge of the box.

Up the other end Vidal, who in fairness had played much better going forward than he had backward, teed up Lichtsteiner who side-footed into the side-netting.

And Stekelenburg came to his side’s rescue right at the death as he came out to block Fabio Quagliarella who had been slipped in by Eljero Elia.

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