While it wasn't the resounding victory many of us dreamt of, given how lopsided this matchup has been over the past several years, storming back to take a point from Juventus has to be considered a moral victory for this Roma side. In the long term, that's a horrible thing to hang your hat on, but considering Roma's struggles in 2015, taking a point from Juve--and more importantly denying them the full three--is a step in the right direction at this point. Yes, it would have been nice to shrink the title gap, but thanks to Seydou Keita's 78th minute goal, Roma are, at the very least, no worse for the wear.
I'm sure we'll have a bit more to say on this match later, but for now, let's take a quick look back.
Going into this match, we made the bold claim that, in order for Roma to win, they must create and capitalize on quality shots. And while they didn't necessarily meet that goal, their shot distribution was a bit better than in weeks past. Four of Roma's eight shots came inside the area, three of which were considered "on target", one of which, of course, was converted into a goal. While the Giallorossi didn't attempt as many shots or create as many scoring chances as the Old Lady, they saw more of the ball and were more accurate in the passing game than their northern neighbors, while spending more time in the attacking third.
Defensively speaking, Rudi Garcia's backline was quite crisp, winning a greater percentage of their tackles, intercepting 17 passes and winning an astounding 71% of aerial duels. Furthermore, Roma stepped and made the big play when and where it mattered; inside the penalty area. Led by Kostas Manolas' seven clearances, Roma cleared and intercepted 38 balls in total, over a dozen of which came inside the 18. While Juve cleared and intercepted just as many, Roma were up to the task, looking resolute and efficient, albeit a bit disorganized.
Point being, Roma didn't bowl over Juventus, but they didn't capitulate, and that's the salient point. Considering how consistently Juve has spanked Roma since returning to Serie A after their most famous cheating scandal, we should consider this a baby step. Roma didn't run from the pressure and they didn't lose or conceded the momentum to Max Allegri's men, they made timely clearances and critical interceptions that kept them in the match.
Seydou Keita: 78th Minute Header
Given how meekly it fell into the net, I'd hesitate to call this a text book corner, but it was wonderfully executed. Alessandro Florenzi served up a great looping outswinger from the right side of the pitch which found Keita, who found space on the far post to head it home, though he received an assist of sorts from Martin Caceres as he fell to ground, but I want you to check out the key to this goal, the movement of Manolas:
Starting at the top of the box, near the penalty spot, notice how Manolas stutter steps to his left before looping around the Juve wall, dragging two Juventus defenders with him as he curls back out towards the spot, clearing the way for Keita to sneak to the back post, though he still had to evade Caceres himself.
Excellent work from Roma on that set piece, a series of moves which they no doubt practiced endlessly; subtle, yes, but no less impressive.
While its disappointing Roma weren't able to actually shrink the gap in the title chase, keeping the status quo should be considered a slight victory, particularly as Napoli lost over the weekend.
Small victories, take ‘em where you can get ‘em. Roma jump back into business on Sunday against Chievo.