Douglas Costa had a last-gasp goal ruled out for offside.

Result: Mandzukic nets winner as Juventus edge past Roma

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  • 2018-12-25 10:25:59 1 years ago
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Mario Mandzukic's first-half goal fired Juventus past Roma 1-0 and eight points clear of nearest Serie A title rivals Napoli.

The reigning champions were not at their best, even against a Roma outfit languishing in mid-table, but Juve have not failed to score at home in the league this season and they kept that run going as Mandzukic struck 10 minutes before the break.

Cristiano Ronaldo's radar misfired twice as Massimiliano Allegri's men pushed to confirm the outcome with a second goal, which Douglas Costa thought he had scored at the death, only for VAR to intervene.

Juve now face a tricky trip to Atalanta on Boxing Day but can be assured that third-placed Inter Milan and Napoli will take points off each other in their evening clash at San Siro.

Justin Kluivert dropped to the bench as Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco instead put his faith in Patrik Schick, the young Czech striker who has struggled in front of goal since arriving from Sampdoria last year.

Within six minutes he had been slipped in behind the Juve defence by a clever pass from Alessandro Florenzi but his control was awful and the Bianconeri recovered possession.

Seeking to punish the Romans, Mattia De Sciglio tried his luck from distance and, after his effort landed at the feet of Alex Sandro, Robin Olsen did well to parry the ball out for a corner.

Davide Santon was the next Roma player to launch Schick and this time the forward got a shot away, only for Wojciech Szczesny to make a low block.

In the 35th minute Juve got their goal as another delivery from De Sciglio sailed to the far post where Mandzukic beat Santon in an aerial duel to put the ball beyond Olsen.

When play resumed following half-time Paulo Dybala looked to break into the box. When his run was ended by Steven Nzonzi, Ronaldo scooped up the loose ball but put his shot over the bar.

Ronaldo then cursed his bad aim after heading right at Olsen when Dybala swung in a cross on the hour mark.

Juve faced an anxious finale as they toiled to find a second goal to kill the game off and when Roma's Diego Perotti put in a cross to the far post that both Edin Dzeko and Schick both managed to miss, there was palpable tension at Allianz Stadium.

It appeared to dissipate when Costa slotted home from a square pass by Ronaldo, but the video assistant referee ruled out his stoppage-time strike for a foul by Blaise Matuidi on Nicolo Zaniolo in the build-up.

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Result: Mandzukic nets winner as Juventus edge past Roma

Allegri demanding even more from table-toppers Juve

Topping the table at Christmas means very little to Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri, who wants six more points on the board before the new year arrives.

Juve restored their eight-point lead over second-placed Napoli by beating Roma 1-0 in Turin on Saturday night thanks to a first-half goal from Mario Mandzukic, but the Bianconeri toiled fruitlessly in pursuit of a second goal to kill the game off.

Next is a trip to face Atalanta on Boxing Day, which is swiftly followed by next Saturday's home meeting with Sampdoria.

Allegri told juventus.com: "We haven't won anything yet. We are doing good things and we are the winter champions but we need to have picked up even more points as of December 29.

"The lads played well after the break and (Robin) Olsen made some good saves. Overall I'm happy, we put on a good show.

"We had to put a lot of pressure on Roma to make things difficult for them psychologically, and after we took the lead there were a few situations which we could have exploited better, but on the whole we did well, in both halves."

Juve captain Giorgio Chiellini rued the failure to get past Roma goalkeeper Olsen again after the break, with Cristiano Ronaldo experiencing the bulk of the frontline's frustration.

Chiellini said: "The strength of this team is not one player: whether that's me, or Cristiano, or Mario, but it's in the collective and we saw that tonight.

"In the second half we could have done a bit better when we were in possession in their half, we were struggling to counter-attack at times.

"We can get better, because we really needed to score a second goal. Games are played across the whole 90 minutes.

"We'll enjoy a few hours of rest and then it's on to thinking about Bergamo, where a tough game awaits us."

Roma head coach Eusebio Di Francesco, whose side are languishing down in eighth place due to inconsistent form, said: "In the first 45 minute we saw the same fear and insecurity of recent games.

"But after the break we overcame that: we battled with determination and used the ball a lot better."

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Juventus 'working to sign Aaron Ramsey'

Juventus will reportedly battle Inter Milan for the signature of Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

Ramsey will see his contract with the Gunners expire at the end of the season, and the 27-year-old will not sign a fresh deal with the club following a complete breakdown in talks.

The Wales international reportedly has a 'verbal agreement' with Inter to move to the Milan giants.

However, according to Gianluca Di Marzio, Juventus are also firmly in the race.

The Italian journalist claims that Inter have actually found Ramsey's demands to be too high, which has given the Italian champions encouragement in their pursuit of the Welshman, who has also been linked with Paris Saint-Germain.

Ramsey has scored twice in 21 appearances for his club this season.

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