Mon, Oct 29, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Napoli end Juve's successful run with controversial win


Juventus' flying start to the season came to a shuddering halt on Saturday as they were controversially beaten 3-1 at Napoli.

Alessandro Del Piero gave the visitors the lead just a minute after the break but an equalizer from Walter Gargano and then two debatable Maurizio Domizzi penalties turned the game around for the southerners.

The defeat for second-placed Juve means that champions Inter Milan had an opportunity to extend their three-point lead at the top of the table away to Palermo yesterday.

It was another impressive result for Napoli, who drew 4-4 at Roma last week, and the victory moved the newly promoted side up to fifth in the table ahead of yesterday's matches.

But Juve were left fuming by the two spot-kicks that cost them a point. The visitors took the lead just 38 seconds after the restart as Raffaele Palladino exchanged passes with David Trezeguet before setting up Del Piero to score from 6m.

The lead didn't last long, though, as Gargano picked up the ball up in midfield and went on a mazy run, beating three players before blasting the ball home past Gianluigi Buffon.

But just after the hour mark the referee awarded the first of two questionable penalties to the hosts.

First Girogio Chiellini was adjudged to have brought down Ezequiel Lavezzi when his tackle looked clean and then Buffon was punished for bringing down Marcelo Zalayeta, who appeared to have dived.

Both times Domizzi sent Buffon the wrong way from 12m.

Napoli coach Edy Reja defended the referee's penalty decisions. "From my position on the bench they both seemed to be very clear spot-kicks," he said.

In the day's other game, Torino eased their relegation worries and compounded their opponents' with a 2-0 home success over Cagliari.

The injury-depleted Torino welcomed back Uruguay forward Alvaro Recoba but he soon limped off to be replaced by Marco Motta.

Cagliari enjoyed much of the better early exchanges and almost took the lead on 32 minutes but Daniele Conti's diving header grazed the post.

Torino too hit the woodwork in the first half as Motta's cross was headed against the post by Tommaso Vailatti Marco Fortin beaten in the Cagliari goal.

The hosts broke the deadlock on 71 minutes as a deflection left Alessandro Rosina clean through on goal to beat the helpless Fortin.

Cagliari's misery was doubled late on as Motta's header took a wicked deflection off Michele Ferri for a cruel own goal.

The match of the weekend was to take place yesterday at the San Siro between European champions AC Milan and fourth-placed Roma.

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