Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Tammy Abraham earned Roma a point with the leveller in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Juventus on Paulo Dybala’s return to his old stomping ground.
England international Abraham headed in his first goal of the season from Dybala’s knock-down midway through the second half at the Allianz Stadium to maintain an unbeaten start for Jose Mourinho’s side.
Roma escaped Turin with a result despite being second best for much of the match and Dusan Vlahovic putting Juve ahead with a stunning free-kick with barely a minute on the clock.
And Manuel Locatelli’s superb strike being disallowed for handball also gave Roma the chance to gain the draw which joins them with local rivals Lazio and Torino on seven points at the top of the league after the latter beat promoted Cremonese 2-1 in Saturday’s other early game.
Champions AC Milan can move level with that trio should they beat Bologna in one of two late matches.
“It was a difficult match, we’re happy with the draw because we had to fight all game,” said Abraham to DAZN.
“Give credit to Juve, they’re a good team. In the first half we weren’t up to it, but in the second half we were better… We’re happy we haven’t lost yet.”
The good result at a place Roma have an awful record masks an overall poor performance from both the team and Dybala on his first appearance at Juve since leaving as a free agent in the summer.
The Argentina forward won five Serie A titles and four Italian Cups in seven years at the Turin giants and was warmly applauded by home supporters before the match.
However there were some boos and whistles from the stands when he was eventually substituted with 12 minutes remaining having helped take two points from his old team despite a collective first-half performance blasted by Mourinho as “not good enough”.
– Abraham saves Roma –
It took just one minute and 16 seconds for Juve to assert their dominance through Vlahovic, who barely saw the ball in Monday’s dismal goalless draw at Sampdoria but curved in a perfect free-kick with his first touch.
The away side were reeling and a vibrant display from the hosts kept them on the back foot, Dybala barely visible for Roma as their midfield struggled to get a foothold in the game.
That was due to the hugely impressive Fabio Miretti, who had previously made eight Serie A appearances but strutted around the centre of the park like an accomplished veteran.
The 19-year-old gave a drive to a midfield which had been almost invisible at Samp and his burst towards goal led to Juan Cuadrado stinging Rui Patricio’s fingers.
His presence also seemed to liberate Manuel Locatelli, who was very unlucky not to give Juve a deserved two-goal lead in the 25th minute with a thunderous first-time strike from the edge of the area.
While Locatelli and the home fans celebrated, a handball by Vlahovic in the build-up was spotted by the VAR officials and the goal was ruled out.
The match assumed a similar pattern after the break, with Juve the better side and uncertain Roma unable to break free of the hosts’ harrying.
However Abraham, who had not had one of his better evenings, levelled the scores almost as soon as Roma perked up thanks to the equally out-of sorts Dybala.
Lorenzo Pellegrini’s corner flew over past the far post and Dybala was there to hook it back across goal, where Abraham was all too happy to nod in the equaliser from inches out.
Another Pellegrini corner almost led to Roma snatching the points, but with the ball bobbling around in front of the Juve goal Arkadiusz Milik hacked it away and made sure that his new team didn’t lose their unbeaten record a day after his arrival.
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