Juventus start year in style
Last Updated: 05/01/14 10:07pm
Mirko Vucinic celebrates his goal
Serie A's 2014-opening blockbuster did not disappoint as defending champions Juventus struck what could prove to be a decisive blow in the race for the Scudetto.
Their clash with unbeaten Roma - their nearest rivals in second - brought three goals and two red cards, with the strikes going to Juve and the dismissals to the visitors as Rudi Garcia's men were turned over 3-0.
The Romans have now not only suffered their first league loss but are eight points behind the Old Lady in the ladder, begging the question as to whether or not their early-season run of form came too soon.
Their 10 successive wins were a distant memory on Sunday night as Arturo Vidal, Leonardo Bonucci and Mirko Vucinic scored for the home side.
Vucinic's goal came from the spot at the end of a shocking minute for Roma which also saw Daniele De Rossi and Leandro Castan sent off inside 86 seconds.
The carnage merely added to the delight of a passionate Juve crowd who were treated to a display which suggested a third title in a row will arrive at the end of the season.
They did have to watch as Roma impressed early on - Miralem Pjanic taking aim on more than one occasion - but their side assumed control in the 17th minute.
A ball into the box found Carlos Tevez with his back to goal but the Argentinean made room and a fool of a flailing De Rossi to flick a pass through to Vidal. He found himself in the six-yard box and duly beat Morgan De Sanctis at his near post.
Roma were shocked but responded through a couple of Pjanic shots, while Juve went close to a second when Tevez's cross evaded everyone on the line.
Another home goal did arrive in the 48th minute, though, with a delightful Andrea Pirlo free-kick finding the incoming Bonucci at the back post, and he stretched out every inch he could to steer in.
Even the withdrawal of Tevez to injury could not cool Juve's fire, which was only added to when De Rossi arrived late on the scene to hoof Giorgio Chiellini up in the air.
A red was shown and to add insult to injury, Chiellini got up, ran to the back post and headed Pirlo's free-kick goalwards, causing Castan to punch it from under the bar. He followed De Rossi down the tunnel and Vucinic cracked the penalty in with 13 minutes left to wrap things up.
Italian Serie A