Roma sink troubled Juve

Late header from John Arne Riise sinks Juventus.

    Juve's goalie Gianluigi Buffon sees red [AFP]
    Norway left-back John Arne Riise popped up in injury time to head home the winner as AS Roma condemned 10-man Juventus to an eighth defeat in 11 matches with a 2-1 success in Italy's Serie A.

    The defeat will surely leave Juve coach Ciro Ferrara on the brink as his mis-firing team slumped to a sixth defeat in eight Serie A clashes, and to make matters worse Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was dismissed.

    The win moved in-form Roma to within two points of second-placed AC Milan, who play Inter Milan on Sunday.

    Buoyant Roma

    They now have eight wins and three draws in their last 11 league matches but club captain Francesco Totti doesn't want to get carried away.

    "We're going through a great period in terms of results, we stood up to Juve," he said.

    "Where do we want to get to? Right now we're not thinking about anyone else than ourselves."

    Roma coach Claudio Ranieri, who was fired by Juve two games before the end of last season, earned his first win as a coach away to Juve but denied there was any extra satisfaction.

    "The city (Rome) is starting to believe in this team, we're having fun and we're playing well," he said.

    "I feel nothing personal, I'm part of Roma and I'm happy because we're in top four.

    "It's an important win because Juve want to stay in race for a Champions League finish and a win today puts them further behind us."


    Ferrara sprung a surprise in his line-up, leaving out former World Player of the Year Fabio Cannavaro in favour of Nicola Legrottaglie, possibly in order to combat the aerial threat posed by Roma forward Luca Toni.

    But both coaches' plans were thrown out the window a couple of minutes in as Toni pulled up with a calf injury and was replaced by Totti, making his comeback from injury.

    The switch seemed to suck any attacking threat out of Roma and Juve dominated the first 45 minutes.

    Bosnia veteran Hasan Salihamidzic fired well over from distance on nine minutes before Brazilian forward Amauri rose highest in a crowded box to meet Zdenek Grygera's right wing cross, heading wide under pressure from Nicolas Burdisso.

    Juve's best chances were coming from the flanks and Amauri won another header on 31 minutes, this time from Fabio Grosso's left wing cross but again he directed it wide.

    Next it was a devilish free-kick from Diego that caused a problem in the Roma defence but Alessandro Del Piero couldn't get enough contact to direct his header on target.


    Results & fixtures

    Wednesday January 20

     Bologna 2-2 Atalanta
     Genoa 1-1 Bari

    Saturday January 23

     Catania 3-0 Parma
     Juventus 2-1 Roma

    Sunday January 24

     Bologna v Bari
     Genoa v Atalanta
     Inter Milan v AC Milan
     Lazio v Chievo
     Livorno v Napoli
     Palermo v Fiorentina
     Siena v Cagliari
     Udinese v Sampdoria

    Juve needed a stroke of luck or a moment of genius to break the deadlock and they got both six minutes after the restart.

    Diego's low ball into the box spun up off Juan's foot, Del Piero was perfectly placed for the dropping ball and his left foot volley from a tight angle low into the far corner was pure vintage.

    But if Juve had needed something special to find the net, Roma needed a helping hand, and they got it courtesy of Grosso and the referee.

    Rodrigo Taddei ran onto a through-ball into the box and tried to turn inside Grosso but the full-back left out an arm and although contact was minimal, Taddei flopped to the ground and the referee pointed to the spot with Totti slotting home the penalty.

    Juve resorted to the tactic that served them well in the first period and substitute Antonio Candreva lofted a high ball into the box but Amauri's header was straight at goalkeeper Julio Sergio.

    The hosts were almost made to pay as Taddei released the breaking Riise with Juve caught upfield but Buffon sacrificed himself, charging out of his area and bringing down the marauding Norwegian full-back to prevent him going through on goal.

    Buffon barely even waited for the red card before walking off the field.

    But then Riise it was who charged forward deep into injury time to meet a David Pizarro cross at the back post and heap misery on Juve.

    Earlier, Catania cruised to a crucial 3-0 victory at home to Parma to improve their chances of beating the drop, leaving them 18th but just one point from safety.



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