Roma throw it away as Juventus edge chaotic clash

Roma only had themselves to blame as they let slip a two-goal lead against Juventus to lose 4-3.

Roma wasted no time in fielding three English players in the same starting lineup for the first time since it became possible; Ainsley Maitland-Niles made his debut in the same side as Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham.

In addition to Maitland-Niles replacing Rick Karsdorp, Jose Mourinho made two further changes, both enforced. Bryan Cristante and Felix Afena-Gyan came in for Gianluca Mancini and Nicolo Zaniolo respectively. It marked Felix’s first start for the club.

Roma reverted to a back four tactically, with Maitland-Niles slotting in at right back. The switch of system worked well initially, as the hosts penned Juve in and took a deserved lead in the 11th minute. Jordan Veretout sent in a corner, from which Abraham scored with a glancing header.

But the visitors hit back six minutes later when Paulo Dybala, unmarked on the edge of the box, expertly curled the ball in beyond the reach of Rui Patricio.

Roma had appeals for a penalty at one point when the ball deflected onto the hand of Matthijs De Ligt, but it wasn’t given.

The rest of the first half was intense, with Juve forced into a change when Federico Chiesa couldn’t continue after feeling the effects of a strong but legal tackle from Smalling.

Corners kept causing problems for Juve, with the last chance of the half seeing Abraham inadvertently knee a goalward header from Smalling over the bar.

The second half started in ideal fashion. Lorenzo Pellegrini set up Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose effort from outside the box took a deflection and looped in to restore the lead.

And things got even better when Pellegrini made it 3-1 five minutes later with a stunning free kick sent right into the top corner. It was a brilliant moment for the captain.

Juventus pulled one back in the 70th minute when Alvaro Morata beat Roger Ibanez before crossing for Manuel Locatelli, who headed in.

The visitors had the ball in Roma’s net again moments later when Dejan Kulusevski hit home, but the linesman put his flag up. After a VAR check, though, the equaliser was given.

Unbelievably, Roma then went behind when Mattia De Sciglio snuck in and finished last Patricio.

Then, the drama continued as Roma were given a lifeline in the 80th minute when a VAR check led to a penalty and a red card to De Ligt for a handball. But Pellegrini’s has penalty was saved by ex-Roma keeper Wojciech Szczesny and he fluffed his lines from the rebound.

Pellegrini then had to go off after being cut on the head from a Giorgio Chiellini challenge.

There were six minutes of added time, in which Carles Perez went close with an effort from outside the area. In another chance, Szczesny pushed the ball away from Abraham last-ditch.

But there was no way back, making it an excruciatingly frustrating defeat.

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