Roma vs. Juventus: Final score 1-0, Totti thunderbolt banishes Roma crisis talk

Paolo Bruno

Francesco Totti scored a stunning goal to give Roma their first win of 2013 and dismiss any talk that the club are in crisis following the dismissal of manager Zdenek Zeman.

Roma made two changes from the side that lost to Sampdoria, Vassillis Torisidis coming in for Michael Bradley and Ivan Piris returning to take the place of the injured Leandro Castan. Juventus made two enforced changes from their midweek win over Celtic in Glasgow, Paul Pogba and Kwadwo Asamoah coming in for the suspended Claudio Marchisio and Federico Peluso.

Neither side was able to fully control from the off, however it appeared to be Roma who settled into a rhythm first, Pablo Osvaldo with the first meaningful opportunity of the match, cutting in from the left hand side, his shot going straight into the arms of Gigi Buffon.

Juventus began to settle into a rhythm of their own and their midfield started to dictate play, however Roma managed to carve another opportunity on the counter attack, Miralem Pjanic playing a slide-rule pass for Pablo Osvaldo who easily outpaced Andrea Barzagli. His touch took the ball around the oncoming Buffon however he took it too far wide to score, and his centring pass was cleared by the Juve defence.

Juve were beginning to dominate possession, and were pushing Roma well back into their half but clear chances were proving hard to come by. Either the usually-porous Roma defence managed to thwart their attempts or Alessandro Matri was caught offside each time a promising ball came in. Conversely, the Giallorossi were resorting to lumping long balls up towards Pablo Osvaldo, something which would've been unthinkable under Zdenek Zeman.

Some cause for concern for Juventus came when Francesco Totti went miles over the ball in a challenge with Andrea Pirlo, planting his studs into the midfielder's knee. Pirlo had a deep cut on his knee but luckily for the Bianconeri, he took to the field again after some lengthy treatment on the sidelines.

The opening exchanges of the second half mirrored the first, with Juventus controlling play but Roma looking dangerous on the counter attack. Chances were exchanged, Mirko Vucinic volleying wide at one end whilst Vassillis Torosidis managed to ghost in behind the Juventus defence at the other, Kwadwo Asamoah managing to get back and clear.

Buffon was forced into a great save after Miralem Pjanic unleashed a thunderous shot from 30 yards, and the Bosnian's inch perfect cross soon after provided Pablo Osvaldo with the best chance of the match so far, his powerful header saved by Buffon, although Italy's number one didn't know much about it.

Little by little Roma were beginning to match Juventus and haul themselves into the match, and in the 58th minute, this told as they took the lead. Miralem Pjanic attempted to drill a free kick at goal from 35 yards but his low effort was blocked in the box. The ball bounced out to Francesco Totti 20 yards out, who unleashed an unstoppable first-time shot high into the back of the net, leaving Buffon rooted.

Following the goal, Juve ramped up the pressure but Roma were gaining confidence and were causing more and more problems on the break. Following a Bianconeri corner, Vassillis Torosidis broke up the pitch and clipped the ball over for Osvaldo in the box. His deft touch looked to set up Daniele De Rossi but the midfielder was unlucky to mis-time his shot completely.

Juventus were suffering from the same problem as in the first half, getting the ball around the box but never really threatening. Roma's defence was uncharacteristically strong and as the match went on, Maarten Stekelenburg seemed to grow in confidence, making a number of important interventions, notably when substitute Sebastian Giovinco tried to chip the ball over him to Paul Pogba at the back post, Stekelenburg just getting a hand to prevent the Frenchman having a simple header in.

Despite Juve piling forward in the final 10 minutes, Roma's defence held firm and recorded a well deserved first victory of 2013. Crisis? What crisis?

Roma: Stekelenburg; Marquinhos, Piris, Burdisso; Torosidis, De Rossi, Pjanic (Bradley 68), Lamela, Marquinho (Balzaretti 83); Totti (Florenzi 89), Osvaldo

Juventus: Buffon; Caceres, Barzagli, Bonucci; Lichtsteiner, Pirlo, Vidal (Anelka 71), Pogba, Asamoah (Padoin 56); Vucinic (Giovinco 56), Matri

Goals: Totti 58 (R)

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