A simple equation: Juve - any ideas on the pitch + Roma on a decent run of form x Ranieri's revenge = a memorable away win. Hfd. Juve were also minus any fans, seeing as the Curva Scirea was shut after the umpteenth incident of racist chanting about Balotelli. Of the c. 19000 hardy souls who braved the -5°C Turin evening, about 5000 were romanisti, and they made pretty much all the noise. Juve ultras went to watch the bianconeri kids instead (the Pulcini, 8-10 year olds) and then protested against their club's board of directors. Sounds vaguely familiar.
The run-up was enlivened by Alessandro del Piero's entertaining pre-match love-in with Totti via his personal website, and Totti's response in kind: it boiled down to 'we're the only two real bandiere left, men of values, honour, tradition, bla bla bla true greatness comes from playing against truly great players like you, Francé' followed by 'ahò Alessà! semo vecchi ma bravi!' Del Piero also scored a smashing goal for a 1-0 lead early on in the second half, to confirm my secretly pessimistic expectations. Things had already started badly with Toni coming off injured after about 5 minutes, and the first half was fairly cagey - we looked solid at the back but weren't creating anything concrete.
But then a penalty neatly taken by Er Capitano (his first ever away goal vs Juve) was followed by a classic example of the professional foul by Buffon, who spectactularly took down a bizarrely breakaway Riise and pretty much immediately began to walk, like a cricketer who know's he's out. No pen, since this was way outside the area, but about 10' to play with numerical superiority - not that I thought we'd be able to capitalise on it. Instead the consistently excellent Pizarro put a perfect ball into the box for Riise to get his head to and it was 2-1 in the 4th minute of injury time. Woo and also hoo.
so we are now 3rd, just 8 points off the top, with the Milan derby tonight. Hands up who thought we'd be here now when Ranieri first arrived?