Wed, May 11, 2011 - Page 20 News List

‘A minute’s madness’ costs Juve dear as Chievo benefit

AFP, ROME

Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero celebrates after scoring a penalty against Chievo during their Serie A match at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin, Italy, on Monday.

Photo: EPA

Juventus’ hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League were virtually erased on Monday after Chievo fought back from 2-0 down to force a 2-2 draw with the Turin side.

The draw — which saw the Juventus players booed off the pitch by their home fans — leaves the Old Lady five points adrift of Udinese, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot with just two matches remaining.

Juventus coach Luigi Delneri said his side had suffered a momentary blackout when they conceded the two goals in just over a minute.

“We have paid a high price for a minute’s madness, there was a blackout,” Delneri said. “The boys played a good match, but were hit hard hard by the very rapid counterattacks of Chievo, such as the two occasions we conceded goals. Luck really wasn’t with us, those shots that hit the post, or just the other side.”

Delneri was philosophical about his chances of seeing out the year still in his job.

“I still have my pride, so I will do everything to my best abilities until the end of the season. Then the club will decide,” said Delneri, who was brought in at the beginning of the season to improve their fortunes after the club finished in seventh last term.

Juventus had looked to be coasting to the three points after veteran Alessandro Del Piero scored from the penalty spot in the 13th minute, after Gennaro Sardo had fouled Simone Pepe.

They doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half when Del Piero set up Alessandro Matri.

However, Chievo refused to surrender and they scored twice in a minute to level the match and all but assure themselves of another season in the elite.

Both goals emanated in the same way as captain Sergio Pelissier twice hit the post, only for his rebounds to be scrambled home by Luca Rigoni in the 68th minute and by Sardo a minute later.

Juventus pushed hard to get a third, but twice they were denied by the woodwork, Giorgio Chiellini and former Italy international striker Luca Toni the unlucky parties.

However, Fernando Uribe also missed a golden chance to give Chievo the three points. With Gianluigi Buffon out of his goal the Colombian had an empty net to put the ball into, but instead he hit a tame effort that went straight to Juventus defender Claudio Marchisio.

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