Tue, Nov 21, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Reigning champions sunk by Sampdoria


US Sampdoria’s Ivan Strinic, left, vies for the ball with Juan Cuadrado of Juventus in their Serie A match at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa, Italy, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Captain Gianluigi Buffon and defender Andrea Barzagli were rested by Juventus on Sunday in the wake of Italy’s FIFA World Cup exit as the Serie A champions lost 3-2 at UC Sampdoria.

Juventus were three goals down heading into stoppage-time after Duvan Zapata, Lucas Torreira and Gian Marco Ferrari scored in the second half for the Genoese side.

The six-time reigning champions got two back in stoppage-time, with Gonzalo Higuain scoring from the penalty spot and substitute Paulo Dybala grabbing a second just before the final whistle, but Juventus fell to third, four points behind leaders SSC Napoli — 2-1 winners over AC Milan on Saturday — with Inter moving into second place thanks to a Mauro Icardi brace in a 2-0 win over Atalanta BC.

Napoli have 35 points from 13 games, two points ahead of Inter, with Juventus on 31 and AS Roma in fourth, a point further back with a game in hand, after beating SS Lazio in a pulsating Rome derby on Saturday.

“This was an unexpected slap in the face,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “Today’s game is one of those that happen once in a year, it’s a difficult game to explain and that leaves you a bit gobsmacked. We should have been patient, even if things weren’t going our way. It’s a long game, you have to stay calm.”

The Turin side had the better chances early on with a Higuain shot deflected wide, and Mario Mandzukic and Juan Cuadrado forcing saves.

Sampdoria’s movie producer president Massimo Ferrero likened the victory to that of “a Fiat 500 over a Ferrari.”

“Mr Buffon said that other teams tend to get out of the way of Juventus, well today he and his Juventus got out of our way,” Ferrero said.

Allegri took a risk when he rested goalkeeper Buffon and defender Barzagli with Dybala starting on the bench against a side who have made their home ground a fortress this season.

“Buffon and Barzagli are getting over the [World Cup] disappointment,” Allegri said. “After 15 days with the national team with enormous pressure, it’s just right to rest. It’s football, it’s another drama, an extraordinary event that has unfortunately left Italy out of the World Cup, but we know how to get up and start again.”

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