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Roma draw see Juve remain top

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25 Nov 2013 22:46:51

Roma draw see Juve remain top

Juventus remained top of Serie A after long-time leaders Roma spurned the chance to overtake the champions following a scoreless home draw to struggling Cagliari on Monday.

Juventus's 2-0 away win at Livorno on Sunday sent Antonio Conte's men top of the pile for the first time this season with a two-point lead on Rudy Garcia's men.

Roma were widely expected to retake the lead but despite dominating the Sardinians at the Olympic Stadium the Giallorossi were left counting the cost for failing to get the ball past impressive Cagliari 'keeper Vlada Avramov.

To add to their woes, Garcia was sent to the stands with 18 minutes remaining after an altercation on the touchlines.

"Maybe I was just too involved in the game," Garcia told Sky Sport Italia.

"This was an unexpected result. People often say if you can't win, the next best thing is not to lose. But we had a really good game, created a lot of chances and in the end showed that the best player on the park was their goalkeeper."

What will go down as a stirring performance from Cagliari was also one that, says coach Diego Lopez, was to help soothe the pain brought by flash floods which swept through the island last week, killing 16 people.

"This week we suffered a catastrophe... the lads ran their legs into the ground tonight to help pay tribute to the people of Sardinia," said Lopez.

"The point we took tonight was also for them."

It was the first time this season Cagliari had kept a clean sheet, and Lopez added: "It's difficult to come to a ground such as this. I asked a lot of my defence tonight and I'm really happy because it's our first game this season without conceding a goal.

Roma welcomed Gervinho back to the fray following a month on the sidelines and after just five minutes the Ivorian striker broke through the defence only to be denied by Avramov at the keeper's near post.

Maicon saw a shot stopped five minutes later and the Brazilian defender was later involved in a move which set up Miralem Pjanic, only for the Bosnian to miss the target.

Cagliari had shown some threat earlier in the half but came closest when Victor Ibarbo's header was met with a superb one-handed save by Morgan De Sanctis.

Roma then spurned two chances just before the break, Gervinho hitting the upright with a header from close range and then Alessandro Florenzi seeing his half-volley blocked by Avramov.

Six minutes after the restart Maicon came close again but saw Avramov pull off a superb save to deny his swerving strike.

Roma were frustrated for almost the remainder of the half and Cagliari were next to threaten five minutes from time, only for De Sanctis to parry Sebastian Eriksson's drive.

Roma then spurned the chance for a late winner when Avramov parried Leandro Castan's goalbound header.

Roma's setback, following two draws, means Juventus remain leaders thanks to a 2-0 win away to Livorno on Sunday courtesy of second-half strikes from Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez.

Juventus, with whom goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made his 500th Serie A appearance, now have a one-point lead on Roma, with Napoli remaining third a further five points adrift after dropping two points in a shock 1-0 defeat at home to Parma.


AFP

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