Juventus falls to Roma, drops second straight match to open Serie A season
ROME (AP) — Bosnia internationals Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko scored in the second half as Roma beat bitter title rival Juventus 2-1 Sunday, leaving the Turin power with two straight losses to start Serie A for the first time in its history.
With Roma dominating from the start, it was an early signal of a possible hierarchy change in Italy, where Juventus has won the league the past three seasons and Roma finished runner-up the last two.
"If you had told me before the match that we would have won 2-1, I would have signed for it with blood," Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. "We did everything we prepared to do. But this is just the start. We can't get overly enthusiastic and expect to always play like this."
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon hardly moved when Pjanic placed a free kick perfectly over Juventus' wall and into the left corner shortly after the hour mark.
Pjanic scored from seven free kicks the past three seasons.
"It's more or less my (preferred) distance. I keep the distances in my mind, my memory," Pjanic said. "It was a perfect free kick, against a great goalkeeper. It was a big goal."
Pjanic also hit the post midway through the first half.
After Juventus fullback Patrice Evra was sent off for his second yellow card, Dzeko headed home from inside the box in the 79th for his first goal since joining Roma on loan from Manchester City.
Paulo Dybala pulled one back for Juve in the 87th.
Roma has four points, two behind provisional leader Sassuolo, which beat Bologna 1-0 Saturday. Juventus remained with none entering the international break.
"I understand that it's ugly for Juventus to lose two straight matches but that's also part of football," Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri said. "We've got to stay lucid because there's no sense in crying over these two losses. ... We've got to get our ideas back in order and start doing great things after the break."
With top players Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal having departed and new signees like Mario Mandzukic still settling in, Juventus has a long way to go to match its form from last season, when it reached the Champions League final.
"Juve had a cycle in which they relied on a few players. Some players you can replace, others you can't," said Roma veteran Daniele De Rossi. "You've got to spend a lot to replace players like Vidal or Tevez. And someone like Pirlo you can't even find a substitute for."
Later, promoted Carpi was hosting Inter Milan in its first ever home match in the top flight. Also, Fiorentina was at Torino along with five other matches.
In the capital, Roma's hard-core "ultra" fans carried out a silent protest over new security measures installed in the Curva Sud — dividing the section in half with two lines of stewards. There were no banners and no fireworks.
The Giallorossi funneled most of their play up the left flank with Iago Falque and Lucas Digne providing crosses for Dzeko in the center.
Juventus produced only one shot the entire first half, a low that hadn't been reached in Serie A since 2004-05.
Juve sorely missed the free kick specialist Pirlo when Dybala wasted a perfect dead-ball opportunity by shooting high shortly after Pjanic's goal. Juve's reserve goalkeeper Rubinho was then shown a red card on the bench for protests.
Radja Nainggolan nearly doubled the lead in the 71st with a long and low blistering shot that Buffon pushed wide near the post.
A minute after Evra was sent off, Falque lifted a cross which Dzeko rose to meet over Giorgio Chiellini and the match was virtually decided.
Wojciech Szczesny, Roma's new goalkeeper on loan from Arsenal, did the rest, saving a flurry of late shots from Juve.