Juventus and AS Roma, two of Italian football’s biggest clubs, locked horns as they battle it out between themselves to decide who proceeds on to challenge for the Coppa Italia trophy.
And it was the in-form Turin club who came out on top. Juventus won the match 3-1 with their Portuguese talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo, get on the scoring sheet once again.
As it was a cup match hence both sides went in with a rather rotated first eleven. Maurizio Sarri made as many as five changes to his side. The most high profile of which was dropping out Paulo Dybala for Gonzalo Higuain. Sarri also had players like Matthijs de Ligt, Wojciech Szczesny and Aaron Ramsey on his bench. Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon started between the poles.
Paul Fonseca too had his work out as he tried to find the balance to field a rotated side but yet good enough to challenge the Italian Champions. He made four changes including as he had to leave out Eden Dzeko due to his ban. Nikola Kalinic was the replacement for the Bosnian international.
It was the former Real Madrid man, Cristiano Ronaldo, who opened the scoring for the Italian Champions. The move started when Aiden Rabiot won the possession and quickly released Douglas Costa, who in turn slide in Gonzalo Higuain who provided the assist for Ronaldo’s sensational effort from a tight angle. Pau Lopez couldn’t stop the effort as Ronaldo scored his seventh goal of the year. The former Manchester United forward has been in scintillating form in last month or so.
Rodrigo Bentacur and Leonardo Bonucci tripled Juventus’s lead even before the half-time. Roma did get their consolidation goal in the 58th. As they struck lucky with an own goal when Cengiz Under’s darting effort was unluckily turned in Gianluigi Buffon.
With that win, Juventus reached the semi-finals of a tournament which they have won four times in past five seasons. Maurizio Sarri would be looking to make it six as he aims to win his first trophy in Italian football.
Maurizio Sarri, Juventus Manager
“It will be a difficult game. We must not look at their position in the table, They have a strong team. They are going through a difficult time but have good players.
“From one point of view, there are three points at stake. From my point of view, from a personal point of view, it will be particularly special because I am very close to Napoli.”
“Ronaldo is in extraordinary physical and mental condition, He is continuing at an impressive pace and has extraordinary skills.”
Paulo Fonseca, AS Roma Manager
“They scored on the counter-attack and players like Ronaldo don’t miss in those situations. I also saw Gonzalo Higuain trackback to help the defence and I believe all three of the Roma forwards ought to work harder defensively, especially in the first half. Justin Kluivert, Cengiz Under and Nikola Kalinic have to work harder in defence.
“We know that Edin Dzeko is a very important player for us and his ban was damaging, but the problem wasn’t just Kalinic. All the forwards could’ve done much better this evening.”