Juventus falls to surprise 1-0 defeat at Roma

DANIELLA MATAR Associated Press Published:

MILAN (AP) -- Serie A leader Juventus fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat at struggling Roma as Francesco Totti scored again against the Bianconeri on Saturday.

Totti's splendid strike shortly before the hour mark was the forward's 10th past Juventus goalkeeper and fellow 2006 World Cup winner Gianluigi Buffon.

Roma had been entrenched in its own half for much of the opening period but increased its pressure after the interval.

It was Roma's first league win since December and interim coach Aurelio Andreazzoli's first after kicking off his reign with a 3-1 loss to Sampdoria last weekend.

Second-placed Napoli could cut Juventus' lead to two points when it hosts Sampdoria on Sunday.

Earlier, Palermo drew 1-1 at Chievo Verona to provisionally move off the bottom of the table.

Juventus was without the suspended Claudio Marchisio and Federico Peluso, while Giorgio Chiellini, Paolo De Ceglie and Nicklas Bendtner were injured.

However, it was full of confidence after all but sealing progress to the Champions League quarterfinals with a 3-0 win at Celtic on Tuesday.

Andrea Pirlo almost scored with a trademark free kick in the 19th minute but Maarten Stekelenburg pulled off a fantastic save, getting down low to his left to palm it round his post.

Totti was booked following an awful tackle on former Italy teammate Pirlo, which left a nasty cut on his knee. There was a worrying few minutes for Juventus fans as Pirlo received treatment on the pitch for several minutes before limping off, but he hobbled back on moments later.

Roma started the second half more positively and could have gone ahead when Pablo Osvaldo beat the offside trap to race onto a Totti through ball, but he fired wide of the left upright.

Seconds later a Mirko Vucinic effort from just outside the area whistled past the right hand post.

Buffon pulled off two good saves to deny Miralem Pjanic and Osvaldo before Totti broke the deadlock in the 58th, the Roma captain driving an unstoppable 113-kph rocket into the top left corner.

It was Totti's 224th in Serie A, and left him one behind Gunnar Nordahl, who was second in the all-time scoring chart.

Nicolas Anelka came on for Juventus in the 71st for his Serie A debut.

Palermo also has a new coach and Alberto Malesani has begun his reign with two 1-1 draws.

The Sicilian side is the only Serie A team not to have won away from home this season, but it took a surprise lead in the fifth minute.

Chievo defender Francesco Acerbi headed down a long pass from Jasmin Kurtic, but the ball fell straight to Mauro Formica who drilled it into the bottom right corner for his first goal in Italian football since arriving on loan from Blackburn.

Chievo was awarded a penalty nine minutes into the second half, when Nicolas Frey's header hit Santiago Garcia's outstretched arm. Cyril Thereau stepped up to fire past Stefano Sorrentino, who left Chievo for Palermo in acrimonious circumstances at the end of January.

Palermo was one point above Siena, which faces third-placed Lazio on Monday.