Serie A - Juve end Roma's unbeaten run

Sun, 03 Apr 21:36:00 2011

Roma lost ground in the race for a Champions League spot following a 2-0 defeat to Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico.

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Roma were the dominant side in the first 45 minutes, but, bar a wonderful Francesco Totti volley, failed to create any clear cut chances and the Old Lady grew in stature as the match wore on.

And an increased sense of composure bore fruit in the second half when Milos Krasic put the visitors into the lead on the hour mark before Alessandro Matri put the result beyond doubt with 16 minutes of the match reamining.

Roma continued to probe but were largely restricted to efforts from distance as they attempted to preserve their unbeaten league run under caretaker coach Vincenzo Montella.

The Giallorossi welcomed Juventus to the Stadio Olimpico on the back of a good run of form - the hosts had recorded three wins and two draws since the appointment of Montella in February and remained hopeful of a late push for a Champions League place, especially after Udinese's 2-0 defeat at the hands of Lecce earlier on Sunday.

Their visitors, on the other hand, travelled south knowing that anything other than a win would all but extinguish their Champions League ambitions - and, for that matter, put a severe dent in any Europa League aspirations - and were without captain Alessandro Del Piero and defender Giorgio Chiellini.

With the ramifications of the match possibly weighing heavily on both sides, the contest began in tentative fashion, before Roma began to play the more enterprising football and slowly take the initiative.

At the centre of much of that enterprise was Mirko Vucinic and it was the Montenegrin who had the first chance of note - skipping past two flailing Juventus challenges before drawing a smart save from Marco Storari from just outside the box.

Juventus threatened intermittently on the break but January signing Alessandro Matri was largely an isolated figure up front and it was Roma who continued to play with attacking intent.

Vucinic found Totti in space at the back post and his wonderful volley looked destined for the bottom corner but Storari managed to get a strong hand to it before Leonardo Bonucci cleared off the line as the ball spun towards goal.

Despite their inferiority during the first period, Juventus could have taken an advantage to the interval - albeit in controversial circumstances.

Having failed to put the ball out of play when Philippe Mexes collapsed in a heap following a poorly executed short corner, the visitors broke with Claudio Marchisio, but his pass, which was behind Matri, rendered what should have been a relatively simple finish into a more complex effort and Doni easily collected.

Having negotiated their way to the interval without conceding, Juventus visibly grew in confidence in the second period and the goal that broke the deadlock was of considerable quality - Matri found Fabio Grosso in space down the left channel, the full back remained composed and found Krasic in space at the back post. The Serbian shaped beautifully to volley past Doni.

Roma almost restored parity through Jeremy Menez but his effort thudded against the bar moments before Grosso turned provider for Matri, who, having broken the offside trap, remained composed to double the visitors' advantage.

Roma continued to probe but lacked real invention and the remaining 15 minutes passed with little threat to the goal of Storari.

Marcus Foley / Eurosport

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