Football: Keita salvages point but Juve tighten grip

Football: Keita salvages point but Juve tighten grip
Juventus' Carlos Tevez celebrates after scoring against AS Roma during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the Olympic stadium in Rome March 2, 2015.

MILAN - Seydou Keita salvaged a share of the points for 10-man Roma in a 1-1 draw with Juventus that saw the champions retain their nine-point lead at the top of Serie A on Monday.

Carlos Tevez curled a free-kick over a Roma wall for his 15th goal of the season that took him top of the Serie A scoring charts. But the veteran Keita equalised in the 78th minute to secure a club record sixth straight home draw.

Roma welcomed the Bianconeri to the Stadio Olimpico desperate for the win that would maintain their unlikely title challenge.

Rudi Garcia's men had drawn six of their last seven league games but had never drawn six times consecutively at home, until Monday.

Under the circumstances, Roma - who have been ravaged by injuries to key players and only recently welcomed back Ivorian striker Gervinho from the Africa Cup of Nations - would be happy with a point.

However Juventus remain unbeaten against Roma this season and with a nine-point advantage look to have one hand on what would be a fourth consecutive title.

Roma started with influential midfielders Radja Nainggolan and Juan Iturbe on the bench while Juventus were without Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba - two of their most creative players - as they sought to make it two wins from two over the Giallorossi following a bad-tempered 3-2 win in Turin early in the campaign.

After an insipid first half without clear-cut chances, the hosts suffered a blow just after the hour when Vasilis Torosidis saw red for a second bookable offence.

In the absence of free kick specialist Pirlo, who is out for three weeks with a calf injury, Tevez stepped up and delivered in style, shooting over the defensive wall with Morgan De Sanctis rooted to the spot.

The Argentine's 15th goal of the campaign took him to the top of the Serie A scoring charts ahead of compatriot Mauro Icardi, of Inter Milan.

Tevez almost had his second minutes later but Kostas Manolas's boot blocked after the Argentinian unleashed a half-volley to the right of goal.

Despite their disadvantage, Roma pressed for the equaliser and almost found the breakthrough when Claudio Marchisio caught the heel of Miralem Pjanic on the left flank.

Alessandro Florenzi, who came on for Adem Ljajic just after Torosidis's sending-off, crossed the ball to Manolas whose glancing header forced Gianluigi Buffon to tip the ball to safety down low.

Roma's insistance finally paid off.

Iturbe won a free kick to the right of the area after a solid challenge from Giorgio Chiellini. The Colombian's free kick found Keita at the back post and the Malian's header bounced over the line past the foot of Marchisio.

Iturbe should have done better minutes later when he was set up on the edge of the area but somehow bundled a mishit shot wide.

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