Rudi Garcia’s side needed a win to haul back valuable ground on their table-topping rivals, but it was the Old Lady who grabbed the initiative when Vasilis Torosidis saw red after the hour-mark and Tevez curled home the resulting free-kick.
Keita capitalised on nervy defending to nod home a scruffy equaliser and preserve Roma’s impressive unbeaten home record, although they remain nine points behind Juve and the visitors will now certainly feel they are closing in on a fourth consecutive title.
Arturo Vidal recovered from injury to take his place in the starting line-up for Juve, but a calf complaint meant there was no place for Andrea Pirlo. The veteran playmaker’s absence was keenly felt in a tense first half that saw chances at a premium for both sides, although the Serie A leaders edged proceedings.
Vidal was involved in the only major flashpoint of the first 20 minutes when he was recklessly scythed down by Torosidis’ wild two-footed lunge. Roma’s tough-tackling approach was evident almost straight away in a dogged midfield war, but that time the 29-year-old Greek was fortunate to only see yellow as he got nowhere near the ball and took Vidal out.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side almost got their noses in front shortly after when Roberto Pereyra’s teasing low cross to the far post was nearly diverted into his own net by Roma’s Kostas Manolas. The former Olympiacos centre back was a bit too casual as he toe-poked the delivery just wide, with Tevez breathing down his neck, causing a collective gasp among the Stadio Olimpico faithful.
But Juve finally got their reward on the hour mark, inflicting a ruthless double blow on Roma. First, Torosidis saw red for clipping Vidal’s heels from behind as he scampered through on goal – this yellow was more unfortunate than the earlier one, with questions asked over whether there was indeed contact, but he can have few complaints overall about having an early bath.
Then Tevez exquisitely dispatched the resulting free-kick from just outside the box to give the reigning champions the lead. Tevez, notching his 15th goal of the season, got such a wicked dip on the shot that it was up and over the wall before Roma keeper Morgan De Sanctis could even flinch, let alone stop it going into the top right corner.
As if sparked into life the hosts suddenly started asking questions, with Manolas leaping well to force a good save out of Gianluigi Buffon on the ground in greasy conditions, before Keita equalised in the 78th minute.
The former Barcelona midfielder nodded Alessandro Florenzi’s deep free-kick delivery back across goal, which created havoc as Claudio Marchisio was unable to shift his feet and clear it on the line as it bumbled over, but the visitors will be happier with the result.