Mario Mandzukic’s eighth Serie A goal of the season was enough to give Juventus a 1-0 win over Roma at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
The big Croatian again showed his effectiveness in important matches, as he has not got himself on the scoresheet against AC Milan, Napoli, Inter, Lazio and now Roma in current campaign as Juventus streak ahead at the top of Serie A on 49 points.
More pressure will be heaped upon Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco’s shoulders as the Giallorossi now have just two wins from their last nine Serie A matches.
The first opportunity of the game came the way of Juventus, as Paulo Dybala found Mandzukic with a freekick, though the Croatian’s header towards the back post was cleared off the line by Kostas Manolas.
Nicolo Zaniolo robbed Rodrigo Bentancur in a dangerous area, then fed Steven Nzonzi, who blasted over from the edge of the penalty area.
It should have been 1-0 to Juventus as a Mattia De Sciglio long shot ricochet off the back of Mandzukic into the path of Alex Sandro, who only had Robin Olsen to beat, but the Roma goalkeeper made a brilliant low save to deny the Brazilian.
Another marauding run from Alex Sandro eventually needed Olsen to parry side, before the Brazilian found himself free on the edge of the area, but again his shot was deflected away from goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo was next up to try his luck, receiving the ball just inside the box on the left side, he tried to curl one into the far corner, but again Olsen was equal to it.
The goal came just after the half hour as a perfect looping cross from De Sciglio, found the head of Mandzukic at the back post, and he rose above Davide Santon to put it past Olsen.
Juve’s dominance continued as half time approached, with Ronaldo firing wide, then Blaise Matuidi was put in on goal, but couldn’t get the ball under control and was thus dispossessed.
After the break, Ronaldo should have got Juve’s second. First Dybala found him unmarked in the box, but a brilliant stop from Olsen denied the Portuguese star, then from the corner, a point blank stop from the Roma goalkeeper again thwarted the No.7.
Chances were few and far between as Roma pressed Juventus much more aggressively in the second, with the Bianconeri quite happy to sit back and operate on the counter attack.
Despite having more of the ball and pinning on the edge of their box, the best chance the Giallorossi managed was a late header in the final minute of the game, from which Wojciech Szczesny made a comfortable save.
The match looked to have been wrapped up in time added on when Ronaldo got to the goal line, with his low cross tapped in by Douglas Costa, but after VAR review, referee Davide Massa decided there was a foul on Zaniolo in the build up.