Mon, Feb 21, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Buffon sent off as Lecce down Juve

AFP, ROME

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon runs out of his penalty area to tackle Lecce’s David Di Michele during their Serie A match in Lecce, Italy, yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Lecce boosted their hopes of escaping relegation, while denting Juventus’ chances of qualifying for the Champions League with a 2-0 victory yesterday.

Djamel Mesbah and Andrea Bertolacci scored for the southerners as Juventus had goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon sent off after just 12 minutes.

Hosts Lecce also had captain Giuseppe Vives dismissed in the second half, but they missed a host of chances to inflict a heavy defeat on their visitors.

After their 1-0 win over champions Inter last week, Juventus returned to earth with a bump having apparently failed to heed coach Luigi Delneri’s warning that this was the more important game.

Juventus lined up as they have several times recently with four natural centerbacks and immediately Lecce’s small and nippy forwards exploited their opponents’ lack of mobility.

There was an ominous sign of things to come just two minutes in when David Di Michele beat the offside trap and ran onto a ball over the top, with Buffon charging from his line to head clear of the onrushing striker.

Lecce looked set to take the lead on nine minutes when Mesbah was teed up on the edge of the box, but he lifted his shot well over the bar.

The turning point came just three minutes later with an identical chance for Di Michele, only this time he reached the ball first and Buffon instinctively stuck out a left hand to block his shot, outside the penalty box. The straight red card was inevitable and Milos Krasic was sacrificed to bring on substitute goalkeeper Marco Storari.

Lecce took the lead just past the half-hour mark when Gianni Munari played a perfect ball over the top and Mesbah took it down on his chest, before slotting between Storari’s legs.

Carlos Grossmuller then shot wide when well placed as Lecce started to dominate.

They should have had a second a couple of minutes before the break on a swift counterattack, but Storari dived to his right to parry Mesbah’s curling effort.

Lecce only had to wait three minutes after the restart for their second when they opened up Juve’s creaking defense once again, with Vives chipping the ball to the back post for Di Michele to head across goal, where Bertolacci tapped home.

The game should have been dead and buried, but Juve were given hope 20 minutes from time when the Lecce captain stupidly picked up two bookings in two minutes to restore numerical parity.

Even so, Lecce still had the best chance to score again when Storari’s attempted clearance hit Grossmuller and spun up in the air to the unmarked substitute Javier Chevanton, but with time and space to bring the ball down, he inexplicably attempted a crowd-pleasing overhead-kick and sent his shot wide.

PREMIER LEAGUE

AP, WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND

Carlos Vela scored his first goal for West Bromwich Albion in stoppage-time yesterday to earn a 1-1 draw against relegation rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Mexico striker, who is on loan from Arsenal, netted the rebound after James Morrison’s shot was spilled by Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

It canceled out a first goal for Wolves from Jamie O’Hara, a midfielder on loan from Arsenal’s north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

O’Hara curled a 20m shot past Baggies goalkeeper Boaz Myhill in the 39th minute.

While Wolves remain bottom of the Premier League, West Brom are a point and a place clear of the drop zone after Roy Hodgson’s first game in charge.

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