Serie A: Roma gives chase as Fiorentina trumps Juventus

Roma shortened the gap on top of the Serie A table, as Fiorentina defeated Juventus in an ill-tempered match.

Roma, who defeated Udinese by 1-0 a few hours before the Italian Champions started their match at Stadio Artemio Franchi, shortened the gap on top of the league table to a single point.

Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan scored the only goal in the match with a half-volley, scoring on the turn after being fed by Kevin Strootman.

Roma’s striker and top scorer Edin Dzeko then fired a penalty over the crossbar, and was spared the embarrassment by his teammate Wojciech Szczesny. The keeper produced two vital saves to keep out Felipe dal Belo’s close range header and turn away Rodrigo de Paul’s shot, ensuring Roma’s victory and three points in the Italian top flight.

Another notable moment in Roma’s match was the introduction of Francesco Totti as a substitute, meaning that he has now played in 25 calendar years for Roma since his debut for the club in 1993.

On the other hand, Juventus suffered a small setback in their bid to retain the Serie A trophy after losing to Fiorentina by 2-1 on the road.

Juventus had been typically clinical this season, and had produced performances that often threatened to elevate them to a runaway victory for the Scudetto – a sixth consecutive Serie A title.

But Fiorentina, troubled by inconsistent performances this season, took a surprise lead at the 37th minute when forward Nikola Kalinic found the far corner of the net after being set-up by Federico Bernardeschi – who won possession off Alex Sandro.

Milan Badelj added to Fiorentina’s lead in the 54th minute with a cross that found the net, as the Juve defence were caught distracted by Federico Chiesa’s lunge at the ball.

Juventus’s top signing, Gonzalo Higuain managed to pull one back with a typically opportunistic strike four minutes later. His goal lead to tense final thirty minutes – play was repeatedly interrupted by late tackles and at the final whistle, the match finished with 38 fouls and eight yellow cards.

Regardless, Juve, looking to rally from their defeat could face a stern test ahead of them as they host fourth-placed Lazio next week – who are also just five points behind the champions. Roma, meanwhile, hosts mid-table club Caligari.

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