Juventus suffer rare home defeat

January 26, 2006

ROME, Jan 26 (Reuters) - AS Roma pulled off one of the surprise results of the Italian season so far when they beat Juventus 3-2 in the first leg of their Italian Cup quarter-final on Thursday.

Juve's defeat - played out on freezing night in Turin - was only their third of the season, after losses to Bayern Munich in the group stage of the Champions League and AC Milan in Serie A.

It also brought to an end the league leader's unbeaten run at the Stadio delle Alpi this season.

Juventus, who started the match with just three first-team regulars on the pitch, enjoyed better possession in a tight first half, but went behind in the 38th minute.

A Roma counter-attack ended with Olivier Dacourt sliding the ball out wide to Brazilian winger Mancini, who cut inside Gianluca Pessotto on the left of the area before angling a shot past keeper Christian Abbiati.

Ten minutes into the second half Juve coach Fabio Capello sent on midfielder Emerson and striker Alessandro Del Piero in an attempt to beef up his team and it seemed only a matter of time before Juve drew level.

But in the 61st minute Roma landed a sucker punch. Mancini surged forward on the break, picked out Damiano Tommasi in space on the edge of the area and the former Italian international finished coolly past Abbiati.

They got their third - again on the break - seven minutes later, this time Daniele De Rossi feeding the ball to Simone Perrotta to chip Abbiati.

Del Piero pulled one back for Juve in the 73rd minute, poking in the loose ball after Roma's defence failed to clear a Pavel Nedved cross.

He grabbed a second in stoppage time with a free kick that deflected off Roma defender Cesare Bovo.

'If we had stayed 3-0 down the tie would have been all but over," Capello said. "Instead we're at 3-2 and there's still something to play for, even if the return match in Rome (on Feb. 1) will be a difficult one.'