FOXBOROUGH — AS Roma is among the few teams expected to compete with Juventus for supremacy in Italy’s Serie A. And the Giallorossi showed they could be up to the challenge by playing Juve to a 1-1 draw in an International Champions Cup match before a crowd of 33,039 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
Mario Mandzukic gave Juventus a 29th-minute lead, Edin Dzeko equalizing for Roma in the 74th minute — nine minutes after Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was replaced by Carlo Pinsoglio. Juventus then won a penalty kick shootout, 5-4.
Juve went with most of the starters from the team that reached the Champions League final for the second time in three years. The Bianconeri, restyling the defense after losing Leonardo Bonucci to Milan, went with a central pairing of Medhi Benatia and Daniele Rugani in the first half, then brought in regulars Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini.
Juventus, playing through Claudio Marchisio and Miralem Pjanic in midfield, opened the scoring as Mandzukic rounded Roma goalkeeper Alisson. Left back Alex Sandro set up the goal, lifting a pass toward the left side of the penalty of the area, Mandzukic, held onside by the Roma back line, running onto it, drawing out Alisson, and clipping the shot in from a tight angle as Juan Jesus attempted to recover.
Both teams went deep into their benches in the second half. Among the substitutes was Federico Bernardeschi, acquired on a $40 million euro transfer from Fiorentina, making his Juventus debut. Bernardeschi had a chance to decide the result, but sent a left-footer off the side netting on an 86th-minute counterattack. The subs included Douglas Costa, on loan from Bayern Munich, his best move a 58th-minute shot that was blocked by Alisson, who recovered to then stop Gonzalo Higuain’s close-in rebound attempt.
Dzeko finished a low cross from Aleksandar Kolarov, the sequence set up by substitute midfielder Gerson.
Last season, Roma finished 4 points behind the Bianconeri, who won their sixth successive Serie A championship. Though the mass substitutions disrupted the flow of the match, they did not diminish the quality of play — Juventus’s bench for the Champions League final loss to Real Madrid was valued at nearly $200 million euros.
“Roma had 87 points last season, most in its history,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said.
“This year they are the our No. 1 challenger, based on the standings of last year. So, certainly a very strong team and promises to be stronger. Napoli is another team, like Milan and Inter, and let’s not forget about Lazio, a team that’s very strong. The competition for the scudetto will be strong.”
Juventus was making its second appearance at Gillette Stadium, having played to a 2-2 tie with Barcelona on July 27, 2003.
This was Roma’s fourth appearance in New England, third since Boston’s James Pallotta took over as president in 2012. Roma lost to Uzpest Dozsa (2-0) at Nickerson Field in 1972 and defeated Liverpool (1-0 in 2012 and 2-1 in 2014) at Fenway Park.
Barcelona won the 17-game ICC tournament, which staged matches in China, Singapore, and the United States.
“We budgeted a modest number, 20,000 and we got 33,000, so we’re really happy with it,” said tournament director Charlie Stillitano, chairman of Relevent Sports. “It’s a good sign because Italian soccer is down and I think that Juventus the last couple years has brought it up and Roma has been on their tail the whole time.
“You could see it was a real game, they played the players for 75 minutes and some cases 90 minutes — they’re getting ready for the season. There’s a rivalry between Juve and Roma that’s been developing the last five years or so, and it played out on the field.
“It’s what we had hoped for. The only thing a little more dramatic if Real had beaten Barça [Saturday] night, then this game would’ve been the final and Roma could’ve won it outright.”