Win Over Roma Was An Instant Classic That Shows What Juventus Could Be

The players celebrate after a great night in Rome.

The images are from the same company.

There was no indication that a classic match in the Italian league was about to take place as the Bianconeri headed to Rome on Sunday afternoon. The Bianconeri had won the previous encounter with the Giallorossi by a single goal.

In their eight matches prior to this latest round of action, the Bianconeri had scored a total of 11 goals and conceded just three times, recording five wins, two draws and a single defeat.

Negative results have seen Jose Mourinho retreat deeper and deeper towards the same dour, defensive football that marked his time at Manchester United and Spurs.

The Portuguese boss was widely expected to stick with the same formation he had used in recent weeks, but the suspensions of Rick Karsdorp and Gianluca Mancini changed his mind.

Bryan Cristante was moved back into central midfield next to Jordan Veretout in order to give the attacking players a platform to take the game to their opponents.

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They did it from the beginning, their renewed energy seeming to surprise their opponents, who suddenly found themselves overwhelmed by a team that was relentless in their attack.

Tammy Abraham had already gone close to opening the scoring when he was inexplicably left unmarked on an 11th-minute corner, the Englishman making no mistake as he headed home the simplest of chances.

An injury to Chiesa added to the ability of the Romans to dominate proceedings, as they were able to equalise soon after with a wonderful finish by Dybala. With the Italy star out, the Giallorossi pressed their advantage and there was no attacking outlet for the Bianconeri.

With an hour played, goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini and Henrikh Mkhitaryan gave the Giallors a 2-0 lead, and the latter effort came via a beautifully executed free kick that goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had no chance of stopping.

If they fell behind and had no choice but to hit the pedal to the metal, they would have a chance to see what this team is capable of.

Replacing the ineffective Rodrigo Bentancur with Arthur made the difference. The freedom that the switch would afford allowed Locatelli to move further forward into his more natural position, and he made the most of it.

Morata ran down the right flank and fired in a cross that Locatelli met with a good head. He could never have made a better run into the box than the one he made for Italy against Switzerland at the Euros last summer.

Juan Cuadrado was picked out by Locatelli two minutes later. After his shot was saved, Dejan Kulusevski fired home to tie the game at 3-3.

The most unlikely of efforts into the back of the net was scored by the full-back after Weston McKennie sent him into the box and he got the better of Chris Smalling.

Szczesny saved the penalty that Matthijs de Ligt gave away and then sent him off for his second bookable offence, as the Bianconeri held on to win the game.

After the game, the Portuguese coach said his side were a bit too nice, a bit too weak, in an interview with Football Italia. The Bianconeri assistant Marco Landucci told a reporter that the thrilling end to the match made him feel like he had lost five or six years of life.

Everything is more amazing when you win. Landucci said that the goal by Locatelli gave them back their enthusiasm. We wanted to play an offensive game but we conceded goals from set pieces. We changed something in the second half because we weren't scoring.

It is with that realization that the team must move forward. They took all three points, but only after abandoning their negative approach that saw them fall behind.

The Bianconeri will play Inter in the Supercoppa Italiana, an annual match between the winner of the Italian league and the cup holders. If they start like they did against Roma, then they will find themselves in the same hole they were in against Lazio.

The last 25 minutes showed what this team could do. Max Allegri has a chance to prove that he saw what everyone else saw on Sunday evening, and allow his team to play with the attacking freedom that fueled this memorable comeback.

Will he take it?