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Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Juventus secured a scarcely deserved 2-2 draw with Roma after Adrien Rabiot was sent off on Sunday.

The Serie A champions cruised to victory against Sampdoria in Andrea Pirlo’s first game in charge last weekend but they looked badly off the pace at Stadio Olimpico against a Roma side full of verve, vigour and no little skill. 

Jordan Veretout opened the scoring early on from the penalty spot before adding a second in first-half stoppage time, just moments after Ronaldo had drawn Juve level with a spot-kick. 

Rabiot was dismissed for a second yellow card shortly after the hour mark but, as is so often the way, Ronaldo rose highest to power home a header seven minutes later and seal a point for the Bianconeri. 

Roma started brightly and should been in front after 12 minutes but Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired straight at Wojciech Szczesny after an exhilarating run from inside his own half. 

The hosts did forge ahead shortly after the half-hour mark when Veretout squeezed home from the penalty spot after Rabiot had blocked the Frenchman’s powerful shot with his arm. 

That woke Juve from their slumber and they pulled level shortly before the interval, Ronaldo slotting into the bottom-right corner from 12 yards after Lorenzo Pellegrini had handled the Portugal superstar’s pass inside the area. 

Veretout restored Roma’s advantage two minutes later, however, taking advantage of generous Juve defending to collect Mkhitaryan’s pass in acres of space and slot past Szczesny.

Edin Dzeko squandered a golden opportunity to add a third shortly before the hour mark, clipping the outside of the post from 10 yards with scarcely a Juve defender in sight. 

The visitors’ task was made harder in the 62nd minute when Rabiot was given his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Mkhitaryan. 

Juve’s numerical disadvantage was of little concern to Ronaldo, though, who towered above a posse of Roma defenders to seal a point from Danilo’s cross in the 69th minute.

 

What does it mean? Lacklustre Juve escape with a point

Roma were comfortably the more dangerous side but a combination of wayward finishing and Juve being able to call upon the irrepressible Ronaldo meant Pirlo’s men returned to Turin with a share of the spoils. The season is only two games old but Juve’s rookie head coach knows his side will need to improve dramatically if they are to claim a 10th consecutive Serie A title.

Ronaldo the saviour… again 

He might be 35, but Ronaldo does not look like slowing down anytime soon. He had more shots than the rest of his team-mates combined and proved his athleticism is not diminished, powering above three Roma defenders to score his second. 

Morata endures a game to forget

Making his second debut for the club following his loan move from Atletico Madrid earlier in the week, Alvaro Morata was an insipid presence up front. He had just one shot on goal and completed only 10 passes before he was hauled off for Douglas Costa in the 58th minute. 

What’s next?

Roma travel to Udinese on Saturday, while Juve host Napoli – fresh from their 6-0 thumping of Genoa on Sunday – a day later at the Allianz Stadium.

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September 28, 2020
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