Moise Kean’s close-range header proved enough for Juventus to seal a 1-0 win against Roma in a game that will be best remembered for a controversial VAR decision just before half-time.
Juventus’ fourth consecutive win in Serie A could have been spoilt by a Tammy Abraham ‘goal’ in the 42nd minute, but referee Daniele Orsato blew for a penalty in the build-up to him putting the ball in the net and the subsequent spot-kick from Jordan Veretout was saved by Wojciech Szczesny.
The result means Juventus move up into seventh position. Roma, meanwhile, remain in fourth on 15 points and two behind third-placed Inter Milan.
For all of Roma's possession dominance in the opening quarter-hour, Juventus took the lead through Kean. A fine cross into the box from Mattia De Sciglio was nodded towards goal by Rodrigo Bentancur, off the Everton loanee and into the net.
Roma pushed hard for an equaliser and they thought they had it when Abraham tapped the ball into the net on the stroke of half-time, but instead referee Daniele Orsato blew for a foul on Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the build-up as he was brought down by Szczesny inside the box.
A VAR check for the penalty was awarded and there was a disagreement between Abraham and Jordan Veretout over who should take it. The latter stepped forward and saw his spot-kick saved by Szczesny.
Kean somehow failed to convert from point-blank range in the 52nd minute when a Federico Bernardeschi overhead kick was spilt into his path before there was more VAR drama moments later.
Lorenzo Pellegrini went down in the box claiming a spot-kick as he fell over when Giorgio Chiellini cleared the ball. Referee Orsato decided not to give anything. After a one minute and 44 second check, the VAR officials agreed with Orsato and no spot-kick was awarded.
Roma went in search of a winner with Veretout curling a strike just wide and Matías Vina having a close-range shot characteristically blocked by Chiellini in the nick of time, but Juventus held on for an important three points in a tight contest.
TALKING POINT – Was Abraham’s ‘goal’ unfairly chalked off?
Referee Orsato made a big blunder not to allow play to continue as Abraham had the ball in the net just seconds after Mkhitaryan was fouled by Szczesny. It is hard to see how the referee could follow through on his decision and not wait for the move to play out in its entirety before making a judgement call. Roma will feel hard done by not to have been awarded the equaliser.
Juventus’ stingy backline was ultimately what got the hosts over the line as Roma pressed for an equaliser. Leonardo Bonucci was at the heart of it, producing a number of timely interceptions and his fine partnership with Giorgio Chiellini did well to neutralise the threat of Abraham and the fluid attacking trio behind him.
15' - GOAL! KEAN HEADS JUVENTUS IN FRONT! A fantastic cross from De Sciglio on the left flank finds Bentancur at the far post and he nods it off Kean and past Patricio to fire the hosts in front! The goal could be awarded to either of them really... Juventus lead!
42' - CONTROVERSY! Abraham has the ball in the net but the referee has pointed to the spot instead as Mkhitaryan is fouled by Szczesny in the build-up inside the box! The ball was bundled over the goalkeeper anyway and Abraham tapped into the net. Mourinho is fuming! Surely referee Orsato should have played advantage. There is now a VAR check for a penalty as well as an offside. A PENALTY IS GIVEN AND THE GOAL IS RULED OUT!
44' - PENALTY SAVED!!! The penalty struck by Veretout is saved by Szczesny low down to his left-hand side!!
54' - VAR FOR A POTENTIAL PENALTY! Pellegrini goes down in the box as Chiellini went to make a clearance. Referee Orsato thinks about giving it but in the end decides not to much to the frustration of the Roma players. However, it has gone to VAR... if it is given who will take it? Abraham or Veretout? Amid the drama Pellegrini is receiving medical treatment, but did Chiellini touch him as he cleared the ball? That is the question... VAR SAYS NO PENALTY! After a check which took one minute and 44 seconds, we play on.
65' - SHOT! Veretout tries to curl a 25-yard strike into the bottom corner but it flies narrowly past the post!
73' - CHANCE! Vina surges and cuts inside the Juventus box, but Chiellini makes a sliding block just in time to stop him from getting a shot away!! That was sensational defending from the Italy international.