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Roma and Juventus, here we go again How it ended in the 80s and in the 00s
One of the most passionate rivalries of Italian football is living a new phase. Let's take a look at the past duels
by Federico Formica
Everybody expected a Napoli-Juventus face-off from this Serie A 2013-2014. But after thirteen games, the Scudetto seems to be a matter between Roma and Juventus. Napoli, in fact, lost against Parma their third game this season, the second in a row and the first in their home stadium. Now, Benitez's team is six points behind Juve and (virtually) seven behind Roma.

Juventus won their fifth match in a row outrunning Livorno (0-2, Llorente and Tevez) and momentarily overtaking Roma in the table, waiting for the monday night Roma-Cagliari. With a draw against a surprising Bologna (1-1, Kone, Jonathan) Inter couldn't catch up with Napoli in third place.

Roma and Juventus have one of the fiercest rivalries of Italian football. The two clubs have never been friends, but the competition became even tougher in the 80s, when the Bianconeri and the Giallorossi contended for the Scudetto four times. While Roma was rarely competitive in the Nineties, the traditional rivalry ignited once more in the new millennium. In 2000-2001 Roma won their third title prevailing over La Vecchia Signora. That Roma, coached by Fabio Capello, had a stunning team led by Francesco Totti, Gabriel Batistuta, Vincenzo Montella and Walter Samuel. But after 13 games, the situation was very different from now and certainly less balanced. Assuming that Roma will defeat Cagliari tonight (though the matches with the islanders are historically tricky for the Giallorossi), in 2000-2001 Roma were 8 points ahead at this point of the season, while today the advantage could be one point only.

In the following season 2001-2002 Juve and Roma switched the final position. The return of Marcello Lippi on the bench meant the resurgence for the Turin's team, which won the title in the last 90 minutes. But after 13 games, both the rivals were quite far from the first position occupied by Inter, four points and seven points respectively ahead of Roma and Juventus. That seemed to be a perfect season for Inter, but the Nerazzurri gave the title up to Juventus losing a mad-match against Lazio and ending even in third place!

In 1980-1981, Juventus won the title (also) thanks to one of the most contested goals of Serie A's history: in a decisive clash between the two rivals, Roma's Ramon Turone scored a goal in an alleged off-side position which was disallowed by the referee. However the TV images never removed all doubt. If the goal had been conceded, Roma would have overtaken Juventus in the table with two matches left to play. If we consider the three points per-victory (at that time only two points were awarded for each win) after the 13th matchday Roma was at the top with 23 points while Juventus were in third position with 19.

Let's analize another engaging duel between the clubs from Rome and Turin: in the 1982-1983 season, the Giallorossi won their second Scudetto with players such as Paulo Roberto Falcao, Roberto Pruzzo, Agostino Di Bartolomei and Bruno Conti. But Juventus also was an amazing squad: in addition to Michel Platini, the Bianconeri could count on the backbone of the Italian national team that won the World Cup in 1982 (Dino Zoff, Antonio Cabrini, Gaetano Scirea, Paolo Rossi). What was the table like after 13 games? Roma were at the top with 27 points while Juventus were third with 24. In the middle there was Hellas Verona with 25.

Finally, the 1985-1986 case is very interesting: after 13 games Juventus were dominating the Serie A with 11 wins, one draw and one defeat (34 points considering three points per victory), while Roma was stuck in seventh place, 12 points away from the Bianconeri. At the end, Juve won the title, but they did it struggling because Roma made an extraordinary recovery, ending only three points behind the Campioni d'Italia.

Overall, the current duel seems to be the most balanced, between two teams that run at a highly competitive speed. Who will prevail between Antonio Conte and Rudi Garcia; Carlos Tevez and Francesco Totti?

Saturday, January 4 th, 2014
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