Mon, Oct 24, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Juventus fails to keep lead as Genoa rally for draw

AFP, ROME

Juventus’ Alessandro Matri reacts during their match against Genoa in Turin, Italy, on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

Juventus missed the chance to consolidate their lead at the top of Serie A as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Genoa on Saturday.

Juve, who were booed at the final whistle, remain unbeaten after seven games, but they have drawn four of those and four teams could have realistically overtaken them yesterday.

Alessandro Matri twice gave Juve the lead, but Marco Rossi and then Andrea Caracciolo, five minutes from time, earned the visitors a valuable point.

The result will cast doubts over Juve’s title chances after they showed once again an inability to close out matches.

Coach Antonio Conte was not too disappointed with the result and said the team still has a long way to go.

“We knew Genoa have quality, we tried to dictate the game, maybe we conceded more chances than in other games,” he said. “We needed to concentrate more because five minutes from time the game seemed over. The positive is the zero defeats, I would have perhaps preferred winning two and losing two of the four draws. Our path is long, we’ve only just started and we know we have to keep our feet on the ground, we know we have to improve a lot.”

They were off to a flying start, taking the lead after just six minutes.

Andrea Pirlo took a quick corner to Claudio Marchisio on the edge of the box and his shot was diverted in by Matri.

Genoa’s excellently created equalizer came on 31 minutes as Bosko Jankovic took out two defenders with a slide rule pass down the left and Alexander Merkel had time to look up and pick out Rossi at the back post, who sent a downward header bouncing past goalkeeper Marco Storari.

Juve went ahead with a another well-crafted goal as Pirlo created space for Matri by running over Mirko Vucinic’s pass, taking Dario Dainelli out of the center and leaving his teammate space to slot home his second.

Merkel, who was having a stunning game, flicked a shot just past the post and hit the bar with a header as Genoa continued to create chances.

Juventus looked the more likely to score, but five minutes from time Juraj Kucka rose above Girogio Chiellini to win a back-post header and Caracciolo got across Andrea Barzagli to poke home the ball from close range.

The referee signaled six minutes of injury time, but it was Genoa who came closest to snatching a winner only for Storari to make a diving save to deny Miguel Veloso.

Earlier, Fiorentina coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was sent off and jeered by his own fans as his side were held to a 2-2 draw by his former club Catania.

It was la Viola’s fourth match in a row without victory and kept them a point behind their visitors in an increasingly congested Serie A table.

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