Mancini missile fires AS Roma to battling win over Juventus

AS Roma picked up a huge three points in Serie A's Champions League qualification battle as they narrowly beat Juventus thanks to a special Gianluca Mancini strike.

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STADIO OLIMPICO (Rome): Gianluca Mancini was the unlikely hero for AS Roma as his howitzer of a strike early in the second half earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Juventus, who were denied by the woodwork three times and had Moise Kean sent off.

The centre-back isn’t renowned for his goalscoring, having netted just seven times in 161 games for the Giallorossi, but he swept a glorious shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area in the 53rd minute to make the breakthrough.

Juve will curse their bad luck; Adrien Rabiot’s header was superbly tipped onto the post by Rui Patricio before the break, while Juan Cuadrado clipped the post and Mancini inadvertently headed against his own post too.

But their resistance broke when Moise Kean incredibly saw red within a minute of coming on, kicking out at Mancini after a tangle with the defender.

Roma’s win boosts them into fourth in the standings above AC Milan, while ending Juve’s seven-match unbeaten run and leaving the Old Lady down in eighth.

Juventus’s Filip Kostic and AS Roma’s Paulo Dybala battle for the ball. [@juventusfcen]

Mourinho changes it up

Mourinho sprang a surprise with his line-up by leaving Tammy Abraham on the bench and starting Georginio Wijnaldum in an attacking midfield role, behind sole striker Paulo Dybala.

With both coaches packing the midfield, a predictably attritional affair soon unfolded, played at a slow pace and constantly broken up by fouls or stray passes.

Occasionally, a chink in the armour was found. Dybala was the first to threaten, taking aim from distance and drawing a good diving save from former Giallorossi keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Roma largely succeeded in forcing Juve out wide and dealing with their crosses, but they were almost caught out just before the break.

Juan Cuadrado’s whipped ball found Adrien Rabiot at the back post, and the Frenchman’s point-blank header was magnificently tipped onto the woodwork by Rui Patricio.

Dusan Vlahovic in action for Juventus against AS Roma. [@juventusfcen]

Second-half transformation

Things picked up in the second half, starting when Mancini unleashed a rocket of a shot from 25 yards that flew into the bottom corner and broke the deadlock.

Cuadrado then clipped the outside of the post with a free-kick before a rasping Angel Di Maria effort required a super one-handed save from Patricio and Mancini nodded a corner off his own post from a corner.

Juve looked the likelier to find the second goal of the game, but their chances were blown apart in the 90th minute when Kean, who had been on the pitch for around 40 seconds, got in a tussle with Mancini and lashed out by kicking the Roma goalscorer to earn himself a straight red card.

The Bianconeri still mustered one final effort as the ball fell to Danilo in the box for the final kick of the game, but the defender’s effort was straight at Patricio.

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