Juve must wait on title and wonder if they'll rediscover focus in time
A point would have sufficed, but Juventus delayed their title celebrations yet again, losing 3-1 to Roma.
Despite playing with aggression and determination in the first half, Juventus lost focus and surrendered to mediocrity soon after taking the lead. Imprecise on the ball and lacking in organisation, Roma were gifted the opportunity to create several chances, converting three to seal the win and snatch second place in the league.
None to speak of, but as Massimiliano Allegri said, perhaps the loss will act as a wake-up call for Juve, ensuring they produce more concentrated and determined performances in their remaining matches, starting with Lazio on Wednesday evening in the Coppa Italia final.
With the title virtually guaranteed, one expects Juventus might lose focus a little, but with an opponent like Roma one hoped for a more motivated performance. Should Juventus continue to practice mediocrity in the next few matches, they will struggle to switch it back on against Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Considering the upcoming Coppa Italia final, Allegri thought it best to rotate his squad. However, a weakened team can only realistically challenge Roma if they play as a unit, and Allegri struggled to motivate his players sufficiently.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Gianluigi Buffon, 5 -- A few mistakes from the usually heroic goalkeeper. Should have done better on Roma's first two goals.
DF Stephan Lichtsteiner, 5 -- A poor performance from the player who should have done more against Stephan El Shaarawy.
DF Leonardo Bonucci, 6 -- Struggles to play with composure when not accompanied by his usual companions at the back, but he fought until the end and tried to score, consistently looking to produce the attacking passes to push the team forward.
DF Medhi Benatia, 6 -- Good at recovering possession, clearing the ball and producing the blocks, but he doesn't always play with intelligence and thus can be outwitted.
DF Kwadwo Asamoah, 5 -- Tried to stop Mohamed Salah from taking control of the game, and he hit the post, but anonymous for much of the game thereafter
MF Mario Lemina, 6 -- Scored the opening goal, but he lacks composure and precision and cannot be relied upon to make the right decisions under pressure.
MF Miralem Pjanic, 5 -- Suffered against his former side and struggled to adapt to his new midfield companions. Unless deployed alongside a player who can help protect him, Pjanic cannot cope against physical opponents.
MF Stefano Sturaro 5 -- Aggressive, determined and physical, but not up to the task on a technical level. Rarely impacts a game.
FW Juan Cuadrado, 4 -- Another dismal performance from a player who struggles for consistency. Rarely capable of a decisive run, he proved largely anonymous.
FW Gonzalo Higuain, 6 -- Delivered the assist that led to Juve's goal but struggled to make a difference in a match where he was offered no assistance.
FW Mario Mandzukic, 5 -- Expends so much energy trying to contribute all over the pitch that he understandably struggles for precision in the final third. Couldn't influence the game.
DF Dani Alves, 5 -- Defensively, he is still not the reliable force Juventus can depend on, but he did try to push forward to create trouble.
FW Paulo Dybala, 6 -- Made an impact as he accelerated and dribbled his way past the opponent. Troubled Roma but not enough.
MF Claudio Marchisio, N/A -- Not on long enough to make an impact.
Mina Rzouki covers Juventus and the Italian national team for ESPN FC. Follow her on Twitter: @Minarzouki.