Both sides were trying to take control of the match in the first half and whilst it was not brimming with clear-cut chances, it felt as though there was the potential for a high-scoring match at the Allianz Stadium.
Then, Juventus scored. When Juventus score, Juventus win, usually 1-0. Their chances of protecting the lead were helped by Paulo Dybala having an unusually anonymous game for the away side.
First half shows both sides can be entertaining
If you had to choose two of the top sides in Serie A to play out an entertaining game, you wouldn’t necessarily choose Roma and Juventus. Both have a reputation for playing attritional football and grinding out results.
The first half, despite yielding no goals, showed that both of these teams can actually play on the front foot in a big game. They are both defensively sound enough that nobody was able to find the net, but there were a handful of chances at both ends and it was an entertaining watch for the neutral.
Juventus had the better of it, having nine shots, two of which were on target. Roma did not create so many clear chances but their build-up play was enough to suggest that a goal was possible.
Dusan Vlahovic looked lively and Kenan Yildiz was full of positivity, as was Timothy Weah. It therefore wasn’t a shock when the second half began with Vlahovic‘s clever flick releasing Adrien Rabiot who opened the scoring.
Paulo Dybala draws rare creative blank
It can often feel like Paulo Dybala is a part-time player for Roma given the amount of time he spends on the treatment table, but when he is on the pitch, he tends to have a serious creative impact on the game.
Considering he was playing in front of his former fans, this was a game where Dybala would have loved to have written the script. As it turned out, the Argentine had a deeply frustrating evening in which nothing would quite stick.
He never really looked like scoring and his attempts to create a goal for Romelu Lukaku came to nothing, as the ball was never exactly put on a plate for the Belgian.
One goal is all it takes for Juventus
We know that both of these teams are very adept at defending a lead, but Juventus do seem to take it to another level.
Even though Roma posed a serious threat in the first half, there was still that feeling that if Juventus can just make the breakthrough, they will be in their comfort zone. Rabiot’s goal came at a point where Juventus still needed to defend their lead for half of the match.
This was their ninth Serie A win of the season that was by a one-goal margin, and the sixth 1-0 win. It might not be a huge amount of fun to watch, and that is a separate discussion in itself, but there is immense value in knowing that once you’ve scored, you have full control of the situation.