Today's match showed what might have been a little over two weeks ago in Torino. Roma was once again on the front foot while Juve were content with sitting back, often looking like they were playing with a six man back line. Instead of Juve scoring against the run of play with their first chance, Rudi Garcia was much more prepared this time around.
In what Rudi Garcia himself called a "tactical victory," Roma were much better prepared for Conte's approach. Rather than let Juve wait for them to make a mistake, Roma were much more willing to share the ball. There were more than a few occasions where one of Juve's three centre-backs had the ball and looked like they had no idea what to do with it because Roma had eased up on closing them down.
Tightening the Screw
The last match between these two sides featured Roma's worst defensive performance by allowing three goals. It must be noted that all three of the goals scored by Juventus in Torino were based off of dead-ball situations. Juve were significantly less lethal from set-pieces and Roma responded by defending well when they needed to. In open play, Roma continued to show why they have the best defence in Serie A. The visitors were held to zero shots on target, that's the first time anyone has done that to Conte's Juve. While Morgan De Sanctis had more than one shaky moment, he'll once again be pleased with the defensive work of the players in front of him.
"The plan was to let the team battle for an hour and then send in Miralem, and thanks to his technique he provided a lot of attacking quality to the team. He's an essential player for us, for the second half of the season, and also for next year."
Rudi Garcia opted to start the match without one of the club's most important players in Miralem Pjanic. His entrance in the 75th minute was clearly planned by Rudi and Mire made an immediate impact. Roma weren't the only side to save one of their best players until late, but the Bosnian was the most influential out of all substitutions made in the match (outside of maybe Chiellini's swap for Ogbonna, but that wasn't a positive change).
Gervinho - There's little to be said about the man responsible for Roma's "revenge." He showed up in a big way for Roma when it mattered by karate kicking in the winner. "I am truly happy, because I scored and because we played well. It was very exciting for me and it wasn't easy to play against Juve, as they were well-covered. We avenged the game played on January 5. It's not my problem who we face. I am focused only on reaching the Final and winning the next game."
Miralem Pjanic - His substitution gave Roma the needed shot in the arm. While only playing a quarter of an hour, he was able to cut the match right open with his dazzling skills and ball control.
Kevin Strootman - Another solid performance from our favourite Dutchman. He contributed more so on the defensive side of the match, but when Pjanic turned the ball forward on a counter he was there. Bursting forward and delivering the final cross that won it all.
Maicon - Having not played at all over the weekend, he was clearly full of energy for tonight's fixture. It was often that his surging runs and dribbles were the only means of penetration for Roma against more than half a dozen Juventus players waiting in the box.
Who's Your Man? (of the match)
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