Juve defeat at Lazio throws open Serie A title race





Turin (Italy) (AFP) - Italian champions Juventus suffered their first defeat of the season Saturday with a 3-1 loss against Lazio in Rome blowing open the Serie A title race.

Maurizio Sarri's eight-time reigning league champions remain second in the table, two points behind leaders Inter Milan after 15 matches.

Third-placed Lazio clawed to within just three points of Juventus after their first win at home against the Turin giants since December 2003.

Cristiano Ronaldo put Juventus ahead at the Stadio Olimpico when he picked up a Rodrigo Bentancur cross to tap in after 25 minutes.

But Luiz Felipe hit back for the Romans in front of 60,000 fans, nodding in just before the break.

Juan Cuadrado's sending off for a foul on Manuel Lazzari after 69 minutes proved to be the turning point.

Lazio took control as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic connected with a Luis Alberto assist to fire in a stunning goal.

Goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha denied Ronaldo's header on the line while Juventus counterpart Wojciech Szczesny atoned for bringing down Joaquin Correa by saving Serie A top scorer Ciro Immobile's resulting penalty.

Felipe Caicedo snatched the third goal five minutes into injury time as Lazio earned their seventh straight win, fuelling ambitions of challenging for a first Serie A title since 2000.

"Lazio for the Scudetto? Maybe, it depends on how much they will be able to continue this extraordinary moment," said Sarri, "let's say it will be a three-way fight."

"The red card changed everything for us," he added.

Juventus had been the only team left in Europe's top leagues to remain unbeaten in all competitions this season.

"My lads did something extraordinary tonight," said Inzaghi.

"We are in an excellent period and we must be ambitious.

"I have always had faith in this team. Six weeks ago people said we weren't getting results, but I remained calm.

"We'll enjoy this for a few hours, but from Thursday must get right back on track and aim to stay in the Europa League."

- Napoli's winless run continues -

Carlo Ancelotti ruled out resigning from his position as last year's Serie A runners-up Napoli saw their winless run reach seven games with a 1-1 draw at struggling Udinese.

Kevin Lasagna scored for Udinese after 32 minutes, picking up a Seko Fofana cross after the Ivorian beat defender Kalidou Koulibaly, to beat Alex Meret in the Napoli goal.

But Piotr Zielinski pulled the visitors level after 69 minutes as Napoli held on for just their fifth point in their last seven games.

Ancelotti's side are seventh in the league -- 17 points behind leaders Inter Milan -- and will bid to seal a Champions League last 16 berth at home against Genk next week.

"If I thought of resignation? No, I feel more involved now than when things were going well," said Ancelotti.

"In football when you do well it's the players' who get the credit, when you go wrong it's the coach's fault.

"So I feel involved in the project especially at this moment.

"We need a spark and hopefully that can be next week in the Champions League."

Berat Djimsiti grabbed a late winner as Atalanta came from behind twice to seal a 3-2 victory over 10-man Verona and stay in touch with the Champions League places.

Atalanta are sixth, one point behind fourth-placed Roma, who occupy the final Champions League spot after their goalless draw at Inter Milan on Friday.

The hosts were pushed hard by Verona, coached by Croatian Ivan Juric, a former player and assistant manager to Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini at Genoa.

Italian forward Samuel Di Carmine fired the visitors ahead after 23 minutes, and completed his brace after 57 minutes.

Atalanta forward Josip Ilicic limped off with a muscle injury with Ruslan Malinovskyi coming on for the hosts after half an hour.

The Ukrainian pulled a goal back for the Bergamo side before the break, with Luis Muriel getting the equaliser from the penalty spot after 64 minutes.

Verona went a man down when Pawel Dawidowicz was sent off for a second yellow card five minutes from time.

Albanian defender Djimsiti pounced on a Rafael Toloi cross to volley in his first goal this season three minutes into injury time, a timely boost ahead of next week's Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Man City v. Real Madrid preview: Team news, start time, odds prediction
Man City v. Real Madrid preview: Team news, start time, odds prediction

Manchester City - Real Madrid should be an absolute classic in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg on Friday at the Etihad Stadium.

Nuno confident Premier League will grant Wolves delayed start
Nuno confident Premier League will grant Wolves delayed start

Premier League bosses will permit those clubs still involved in European competition to begin their domestic campaign later than the scheduled September 12 date, says Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo. The 46-year-old Portuguese followed Chelsea manager Frank Lampard -- whose side are in Champions League action at the weekend -- in calling for a delayed start to their season as the players are facing a shorter break than those not involved in European competition. Nuno's side host Greek outfit Olympiakos on Thursday in their Europa League last 16 second-leg clash, with Wolves holding the advantage having scored an away goal in the 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture.

Roles reversed as Guardiola seeks to follow trail blazed by Zidane
Roles reversed as Guardiola seeks to follow trail blazed by Zidane

Zinedine Zidane may never have been hired as Real Madrid coach but for the success of Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, but it is Guardiola who now must follow the Frenchman's example to complete his mission at Manchester City. Zidane's Madrid travel to Manchester on Friday looking to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit from February as the Champions League resumes after a five-month coronavirus shutdown. Then under pressure, Zidane, in his second spell in charge at the Bernabeu, has again interrupted Barca's dominance of La Liga with a run of 10 straight victories after Spanish football's return in June to take the title.

Champions League last-16 ties: How they stand
Champions League last-16 ties: How they stand

The UEFA Champions League returns on Friday with the remaining places at the final tournament in Lisbon up for grabs as Europe's top clubs look to go all the way and lift the trophy on August 23 after a suspension of five months because of the coronavirus. It is nearly six months since officials in Lyon questioned the decision to allow the first leg to go ahead as coronavirus cases took off in northern Italy. Lucas Tousart's goal gave Lyon a surprise 1-0 win on the night, but much has changed since then -- for a start Tousart is no longer at Lyon having signed for Hertha Berlin.

How will Premier League clubs fare in Europe this month?
How will Premier League clubs fare in Europe this month?

Chelsea, Wolves, Man City, and Manchester United have varying degrees of lifeblood remaining in Europe. Who's most likely to succeed?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Soccer