Roma hand Juve second successive league defeat

Not since Bologna in 1941 have the title holders begun the defence of their crown with successive defeats and Juve, beaten 1-0 at home by Udinese last week after losing only three games all last season, have never previously suffered such a start.


They can have no complaints about Sunday’s defeat either as last year’s runners-up struck through Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko before Paulo Dybala scored late on for Juventus who finished with 10 men having had Patrice Evra sent off.

Roma were on top throughout and unlucky not to be ahead at halftime after Pjanic hit a post.

The Bosnian’s radar was better calibrated after the hour when he curled home an excellent free kick.

Juventus then had defender Evra dismissed for a second booking before another Bosnian Dzeko, newly arrived on a season-long loan from Manchester City, rose well to head the second.

Dybala pulled one back three minutes from time to set up a frantic finale but Juve, who earlier had reserve goalkeeper Rubinho red carded for dissent while on the bench, could not find the equaliser and remain without a point.

“I’m not worried about our zero points in the league, that’s something that can happen in football,” said Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri.

“Yes, we have to catch up, but we’ve got all the time and quality to do so. We need to remain calm, clear headed and run through what didn’t work for us.”

Juventus, missing some key players through injury, will be grateful for a weekend off due to the international fixtures next week.

“When we come back we’ll have Claudio Marchisio ready and Sami Khedira won’t be far off,” Allegri said. “(Alvaro) Morata will be in better shape, while (Juan) Cuadrado, (Mario) Mandzukic and Dybala will be more in tune with our way of working.”

Roma’s Daniele Di Rossi was also anxious not to write off the champions so early in the season.

“Even when they were down to 10 men, they still found a way back into a game that looked dead and buried. I believe Juventus will be fighting for top spot throughout the campaign,” he told Roma’s website.

“Coaches and players come and go but the mentality is always the same. I’m sure they’ll be competing right the way through the season and we need to do likewise.”

While Juve have yet to register a point and Roma are on four, Chievo Verona have had a flying start, thrashing Lazio 4-0 to make it two wins out of two and seven goals scored.

Torino, Inter Milan, Sassuolo and Palermo are also on six points after collecting second-week wins.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, Editing by Ken Ferris)