A stunning strike by veteran Alessandro Del Piero helped Juventus to a 3-0 win over 10-man AS Roma on Tuesday which put the Serie A leaders into the Italian Cup semi-finals.
Juventus took an early lead through Emanuele Giaccherini, before Del Piero doubled his side’s advantage in the 30th minute with a perfect curling effort.
It was the 37-year-old veteran’s first goal for Juventus this season and the popular forward was resoundingly applauded when he went off 13 minutes from time, with coach Antonio Conte also joining in the lengthy standing ovation.
Any chance Roma had of getting back into the match all but evaporated when Erik Lamela was sent off in the 69th minute for kicking Giorgio Chiellini.
Roma’s miserable night was complete when defender Simon Kjaer fired into his own net in the final minute.
Juve, who are unbeaten this campaign, will meet AC Milan or SS Lazio in the semis.
“Finally, he scored an amazing goal, he’s been trying for a while,” Conte said. “He will always be the answer for us and never a problem. I’m also delighted for Giaccherini. A few years ago he was in Serie C and now after a lot of work he is living a fairytale. We’re doing well, we really want to go forward in this competition. I’m happy because even those who haven’t played much were ready and that’s to their credit.”
Juventus got off to the perfect start when they took the lead inside six minutes. Andrea Barzagli split the Roma defense with a through ball to an unmarked Giaccherini, who raced into the area, before firing it past the onrushing goalkeeper and into the far right corner.
Roma had a rare sight of goal in the 29th minute, but stand-in Juventus goalkeeper Marco Storari rushed out swiftly to comfortably block Miralem Pjanic’s effort.
Another mistake in the Roma defense almost gifted Juventus a second goal when Marco Borriello — who arrived on loan from the capital side at the beginning of the month — stole the ball off a former teammate in the six-yard box, but his pace carried him past the dead-ball line before he could strike.
Juve did double their lead on the half-hour mark when Del Piero curled a fantastic shot into the top right corner. Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg could only watch as it sailed in under the crossbar.
They should have extended their advantage six minutes from halftime. Luca Marrone picked out Marcelo Estigarribia on the left flank and he raced into the box with plenty of time to pick his spot, but he fired into the side netting.
Roma were a better side after the break and they carved out several decent opportunities. Lamela’s header went narrowly wide of the right upright shortly after the restart.
Fabio Borini also headed wide as Roma tried to get back into the game, but Lamela was then sent off for kicking Chiellini between the legs in an off-the-ball incident.
Fabio Quagliarella should have grabbed the third goal seconds after coming on for Del Piero, but he saw his close-range effort crash back off the crossbar after being set up perfectly by Alessandro Matri.
Matri also went close seconds later, but Kjaer cleared the ball off the line.
The Roma defender swiftly went from hero to villain. Quagliarella crossed the ball into the area toward Matri and Kjaer slid in, but he could only fire the ball in off the grasping arms of Stekelenburg.