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Dzeko in Europe's top 10; Rooney next for drop

UEFA Nations League

Transfer Rater: Pellegrini to Man United

Football Whispers
 By Terry Daley

Daniele De Rossi, stingy Roma defence delay Juve's Scudetto party with win

Daniele De Rossi captained Roma to a big 3-1 win over Juventus in Serie A on Sunday.

Roma spoiled Juventus' Scudetto party and fired a huge shot in the race for automatic Champions League qualification by overcoming an injury crisis and becoming just the third team to beat the champions elect in 2017 with a 3-1 victory.

Daniele De Rossi's bundled 25th-minute finish sent the Giallorossi on their way after Mario Lemina opened the scoring for a second-string Old Lady, and Stephan El Shaarawy's viciously deflected shot 11 minutes after the break was quickly followed up with a delightful team goal emphatically finished by Radja Nainggolan -- a doubt until minutes before kickoff with a calf strain. It capped a dogged, scruffy victory that was accomplished without injured top scorer Edin Dzeko and suspended Kevin Strootman, with starting false No. 9 Diego Perotti also far from 100 percent.

Roma stay a point ahead of third-placed Napoli with two simple-looking final games awaiting them, and now have second place and the Champions League's financial bonanza in their own hands. The four-point gap between Roma and Juventus doesn't mean that the title race is back on, but the sighs of relief from the boardroom could almost be heard over the din of the bouncing Stadio Olimpico. The club might actually be able to plan this summer's transfer activity and build on what has been a disappointing but by no means disastrous season.

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Given the condition of Roma's attacking unit, they managed to cause Juventus plenty of problems, and the attitude was right from the first whistle. Having watched Napoli absolutely destroy Torino in the afternoon and knowing that a win was the only result that would do against the potential European champions, Roma stood up to the pressure and didn't let their heads drop after giving away such a cheap opener.


Roma struggled ever so slightly to control the game once they were two goals up, with substitute Paulo Dybala causing the hosts plenty of problems and two presentable opportunities being passed up by the excellent Gonzalo Higuain and Leonardo Bonucci. You get the impression that had Juventus been desperate to win on Sunday, they could have stepped up another gear a bit sooner.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Luciano Spalletti's floating attacking four didn't quite come off, with a half-fit false No. 9 Perotti and Nainggolan failing to connect with Mohamed Salah and El Shaarawy on the flanks. Too often the four were flat across the pitch and didn't offer the penetration needed, but given the players he had at his disposal, he got as good of a display as could have been hoped for. Packing the midfield and defence to protect the two-goal lead easily could have backfired.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Wojciech Szczesny, 7 -- Could do nothing with Lemina's opener, but pulled off some fine saves in the first half to keep the score level.

DF Antonio Rudiger, 6 -- Was a frankly clumsy presence on the right. Always looks like he's about to commit an atrocious foul, but somehow comes out clean.

DF Kostas Manolas, 6 -- Did not cut across to pick up Lemina when he strolled through to tap in Higuain's fine lay off, but was otherwise class.

DF Federico Fazio, 6 -- Completely lost Higuain for Juve's goal, but recovered well to marshal the back line.

DF Emerson Palmieri, 6 -- Stuck to his defensive duties until the final 10 minutes, when he was let off the leash and relished every second.

MF Daniele De Rossi, 7 -- Brought his team back into the game just as another Juve procession looked inevitable and offered great protection to the back four. A captain's display.

MF Leandro Paredes, 7 -- His inviting corner kick led to De Rossi's equaliser. Ran the midfield alongside the captain.

MF Mohamed Salah, 6 -- Put in a patchy, hurried display saved by a sublime assist for Nainggolan, his 11th of the season, more than any other player in Serie A.

MF Radja Nainggolan, 7 -- Took his opportunity when it came. Charged through the pain barrier and got his award with a fine winner.

MF Stephan El Shaarawy, 7 -- Was fortunate to see his blocked shot spin off Bonucci and bend around a flabbergasted Gianluigi Buffon

FW Diego Perotti, 6 -- Was not at 100 percent and nowhere near his best. Out of sync with Salah and El Shaarawy and lacking a cutting edge. Great effort nonetheless.


MF Clement Grenier, N/R -- Put in 20 minutes of unfussed, subtle midfield play.

DF Juan Jesus, N/R -- Was brought on to bolster the defence as Roma looked to protect their two-goal lead and was composed on the left.

AM Francesco Totti, N/R -- Trotted around and took the applause from the Olimpico for a couple of minutes.

Terry is based in Rome and is ESPN FC's AS Roma blogger. Twitter: @T_Daley


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