Jose Mourinho’s Roma threw away a two-goal lead and squandered a late penalty as they lost 4-3 to 10-man Juventus in a whirlwind Stadio Olimpico clash.
The game was set up nicely after an early goal for each team from Tammy Abraham and Paulo Dybala, before a chaotic second period saw two strikes from distance by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini put the hosts apparently in charge.
However, a remarkable seven-minute turnaround saw goals from Manuel Locatelli, Dejan Kulusevski and Mattia De Sciglio put Juventus in front, before a Wojciech Szczesny penalty save from Pellegrini completed a miserable final 20 minutes for the Giallorossi.
Juve suffered a blow when Federico Chiesa was forced to come off with a knee injury in the first half following a tackle from Chris Smalling, and then saw Matthijs de Ligt sent off for a second yellow card in a handball incident that led to Roma’s spot-kick, but they held on for a famous win in the Italian capital.
Abraham opened the scoring with a header in the 11th minute as he glanced Jordan Veretout’s corner across goal and into the right corner to give Roma the lead.
Juve were level just seven minutes later as Chiesa cut inside Roma debutant Ainsley Maitland-Niles before passing to Dybala, and the Argentine forward curled a perfect effort past the despairing dive of Rui Patricio.
Mourinho’s men were back in front less than three minutes into the second half as Mkhitaryan collected the ball before shooting from 25 yards, with a heavy deflection off De Sciglio taking the strike over the helpless Szczesny and into the net.
There was no fortune about the third for Roma in the 53rd minute as Pellegrini curled a sumptuous free-kick into the top left corner, but Locatelli began the incredible comeback with a header from an Alvaro Morata cross with 20 minutes remaining.
Substitute Kulusevski dramatically equalised just a couple of minutes later after a blocked Morata shot and a long VAR check following an initial offside ruling, before De Sciglio cut inside from the left to fire low past Patricio to make it 4-3.
De Ligt was dismissed for a second bookable offence following a handball in the final 10 minutes, but the Juve bench celebrated shortly afterwards as former Roma stopper Szczesny saved the subsequent penalty from Pellegrini, with Massimiliano Allegri’s men somehow taking all three points.
What does it mean? Comeback kings Juve
It has not been an overly positive season for Allegri and Juventus, heading into this game 13 points off the top of the table and even looking like the fight for the top four could be a tricky one.
However, if ever anything was going to give them a shot in the arm, it was this phenomenal comeback, which was their first Serie A win after trailing by a two-goal margin since August 2017 against Genoa.
Losing Chiesa will be tough to take, but the spirit shown when other teams would have let their heads drop at 3-1 down could be enough to see them through any significant period without the Italy international.
Old Lady defy the logic of xG
Expected goals (xG) can tell us plenty about a game, calculating the quality of a team’s chances and therefore their likely goals potential. Yet here Juve bagged four despite finishing with an xG of just 1.42, beating Roma despite the hosts recording an xG of 2.52, with Pellegrini’s penalty chance adding significantly to that.
Allegri’s men were efficient with their shooting, scoring four despite having only five efforts on target.
The English are coming
The capitulation was certainly not the fault of Mourinho’s English contingent, but it was not the way they will have wanted to mark a historic day in Rome.
Maitland-Niles started for Roma along with fellow countrymen Smalling and Abraham after arriving on loan from Arsenal, meaning it was the first time since Opta began recording full Serie A appearance data (1994-95 onwards) that an Italian top-flight side has started as many as three English players in a game.
The new recruit from Arsenal played at right-back and largely did well, putting in the most crosses for his new side (six), but will be hoping for better fortunes during the rest of his Italian adventure.
Roma host Cagliari next Sunday while Juventus travel to San Siro to take on Inter in the Supercoppa Italiana on Wednesday.
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