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Roma eliminate Juventus in Coppa Italia

Posted by Julian Cardillo  January 21, 2014 07:26 PM

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Revenge can be sweet.

Roma defeated Juventus 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia on Tuesday off a goal by Gervinho in the 79th minute. The positive result was the ideal response for Roma after getting ousted by Juventus 3-0 in a league match on Jan. 5.

That loss was Roma's first of the season and snapped a 17-game unbeaten streak. The giallorossi followed up well to the poor result, winning their next three matches. But knocking Juventus out of the Coppa Italia, Italy's premier domestic elimination tournament, was a plus.

"It was a win that we wanted at all costs," said Roma captain Francesco Totti. "We had to get our own back for the horrible defeat we suffered in Turin. Today we showed ourselves to be at the same level as a very good Juve side."

The team was plagued by poor marking when it met Juventus two weeks ago. Plays set up by Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, and Carlos Tevez unraveled Roma's back line for the team's worst defeat since last March. But on Tuesday, Roma's defense stayed strong and resolute for its fourth straight shutout.

Meanwhile, Gervinho, who has been scrutinized by the Italian press in recent weeks for poor finishing, capped a late-game counter attack by pummeling a cross from Kevin Strootman into the back of the net. Miralem Pjanic started the sequence by making a 15-yard run and playing the ball wide to Strootman at left edge of the penalty area. Strootman's cross found Gervinho, who one-timed the ball via a back-heel past Marco Storari.

Roma are still 8 points behind first place Juventus in the league standings. But they are on track to win their tenth Coppa Italia title and will rejoice in the fact that they eliminated their rivals from the tournament.

"For me there isn't a big gap between us, even if it's the league table that counts. Eight points is a lot, we're having a brilliant season, but they're doing even better," added Totti.

"If we carry on the way we played in the first half of the season we'll be close to Juve, but if they stay at the same level, it will be difficult."

It should not be overlooked that Roma's home-field advantage probably played a role. Roma's away record with Juventus is 8-51-21 and they have been outscored in Torino 159-58. Tuesday marked Roma's second straight win against Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico, improving their home record against La Vecchia Signora to 32-27-27.

Roma will play either Napoli or Lazio in the two-leg semifinals.

Roma's recent moves

Roma's one and only loss of the January transfer window is Michael Bradley, who completed a record transaction by moving to MLS and signing for Toronto FC...Roma added Radja Nainggolan, a Belgian center midfielder, on loan from Cagliari. He started on Tuesday against Juventus and is expected to add some much needed depth to their central midfield...Roma added another player on loan in the way of Leandro Paredes, who joined the giallorossi from Boca Juniors. Roma then loaned him out to Sampdoria...Roma's most recent acquisition is Michel Bastos, a Brazilian winger who played at the 2010 World Cup. He has joined Roma on loan from Al Ain, a team in the United Arab Emirates...earlier this month Roma announced that Pjanic came to terms with a new contract.

Revolution draft one more

Pierre Omanga, a 6'2" forward from Southern New Hampshire University, will join the Revolution in preseason and fight for an MLS contract. The Revolution drafted him in the 3rd round (50th overall). He was Division II player of the year in 2013 for his 21-goal, three assist season.

If you want to reach Julian email him at julianccardillo@gmail.com and follow him on twitter @juliancardillo

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About Corner Kicks: Julian Cardillo offers insight and analysis about the New England Revolution as well as European and international soccer.

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