Juventus eased into the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia after comfortably beating Roma 3-1 at the Allianz Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The game started at a high intensity but neither side were able to find their rhythm early on, with the
A frantic start to the second half saw the woodwork rattled at either end. Initially, Nikola Kalinic squandered a glorious opportunity for his first Roma goal, before Gonzalo Higuain’s superb header came back off the crossbar moments later. But the visitors did soon reduce the margin when Cengiz Under’s wonderful effort rebounded off Gianluigi Buffon to offer the Giallorossi a glimmer of hope.
Both keepers were called into action from close range either side of the hour mark as Roma struggled to continue the momentum they had built up after the restart. In the end, Juventus’ first-half showing was enough to see them in to the semi-final of the Coppa Italia, as the Old Lady aim to claim the trophy for the 14th time in their illustrious history.
Key Talking Point
Juventus were looking to avoid the same fate that they had suffered at the quarter-final stage of the Coppa Italia last season, where they lost emphatically to eventual finalists Atalanta. With one eye on a first trophy at the Allianz, Maurizio Sarri will have been overjoyed by the opening 45 minutes of football, especially given his side didn’t even have to hit their usual high standards.
Another sensational moment from none other than Ronaldo made sure that Juventus didn’t need to break stride to take a half-time lead. Bentancur and Bonucci added some gloss to the scoreline at the break, but the Bianconeri strolled into a commanding first-half lead with little fuss – exactly what Sarri needed with a difficult weekend trip to Napoli in mind.
However, Juve’s dominance was soon thrown in to jeopardy by a spirited, but brief, Roma fightback which saw the hosts once again showcase some poor defending – something that has become all too common for the league leaders this term. While they did soon stem the tide, the hosts will be concerned by their continual issues at the back, albeit caused in part by injury.
The Bianconeri had chances to kill the game off (again) but some wasteful finishing and bad luck prevented Juventus from being able to completely relax ahead of the final whistle. Ultimately, it was a good performance from the 13-time Coppa Italia winners who will fancy their chances of writing their names on the trophy yet again this year.
Starting XI: Buffon (5); Danilo (5), Bonucci (7), Rugani (6), Sandro (6); Bentancur (7), Pjanic (6), Rabiot (6); Costa (8*), Higuain (7), Ronaldo (7)
Despite being hooked after just 67 minutes, Douglas Costa made a vital contribution to the outcome of this quarter-final. From his first touch he looked lively, running and driving at Roma’s defenders with his characteristically tricky and agile feet.
The Brazilian was heavily involved in the second and third goals for Juve, including a stunning cross to set up Bonucci’s first-half header. While the winger is yet to get back to his best, this was certainly a step in the right direction for the 29-year-old.
Starting XI: Lopez (6); Florenzi (5), Mancini (6), Smalling (7), Kolarov (5); Cristante (4), Diawara (5), Under (6), Pellegrini (7), Kluivert (4); Kalinic (5)
Substitutes: Santon (6), Veretout (5), Peres (5)
Next up for Juventus is a tricky trip to Stadio San Paolo to face Napoli as the Old Lady aim to sustain their lead atop Serie A. Meanwhile, Roma also have a challenging encounter on the horizon themselves, clashing with fierce local rivals Lazio this Sunday.