Juventus 1 - 0 AS Roma: Higuain effort enough as Juventus edge Roma to extend lead at top of Serie A



Posted Sunday, December 18, 2016 by PA

Juventus 1 - 0 AS Roma: Higuain effort enough as Juventus edge Roma to extend lead at top of Serie A

A fine solo goal from Gonzalo Higuain in a 1-0 victory over title rivals Roma extended Juventus' lead at the top of Serie A to seven points.

Higuain, who joined the Italian champions for B#75.3million from Napoli this summer, scored the all-important goal after 14 minutes when the Argentina international skipped past two Roma defenders before blasting past Wojciech Szczesny for his 10th league goal of the season.

Despite not playing with the fluency which has brought them five consecutive league titles, the win proved that Juve are the team to beat while Roma's rebirth this campaign was put on hold and they will need to regroup against Chievo before the winter break.

Both sides entered the game without key defensive players as the visitors were missing Alessandro Florenzi meaning Antonio Rudinger deputised at right-back, while injured defenders Leonardo Bonucci and Dani Alves were ruled out for Juventus.

The Giallorossi, who have recorded impressive wins over Lazio and Milan in recent weeks, were on the back foot in the opening 10 minutes as Mario Mandzukic teed up Higuain but his effort was well saved by Szczesny.

But Higuain broke the deadlock moments later as Sami Khedira found the 29-year-old in space before he evaded two tackles to smash a sublime left-footed strike home.

Higuain came close to doubling their lead but was caught offside as Luciano Spaletti's men failed to adjust in the early stages. Radja Nainggolan came close with the visitors' first real attempt in the opening 45 minutes but Gianluigi Buffon was on hand to deny the Belgian.

Former Roma man Miralem Pjanic limped off with an injury after 50 minutes as Juve were happy to slow down the game in the second half. Szczesny kept Roma in contention when he got down well to deny Stefano Sturaro in the 71st minute as Massimiliano Allegri's side searched for a second to put the game out of reach.

With the game slipping out of their grasp, Diego Perotti had two chances to level for Roma, first in the 77th minute and secondly in added time as Juve kept their opponents at bay for most of the game.

The win saw Juventus claim their 35 consecutive home win in Serie A and assured their dominance in the league while Roma, on the other hand, missed a chance to close the gap to one point and stake their claim as serious title contenders this season.

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