Juventus fail to regain top spot after Udinese draw
Juventus failed to return to top spot in Serie A yesterday after they were held to a 0-0 draw away at third-placed Udinese.
The Old Lady of Turin trail Milan – 2-0 winners over Cagliari on Tuesday – on goal difference while Udinese are two points behind that duo.
Lazio failed to join Udinese on 32 points as they were also held 0-0 by mid-table Chievo later in the evening while 2010 champions Inter’s fast-improving form saw them win their fourth match in a row in a 3-1 win over Lecce.
Claudio Ranieri’s side are now fifth in the standings, eight points adrift of the top two.
Napoli, whose form in Serie A has not been to the level of that in the Champions League this season, enjoyed their most impressive result of the campaign thrashing Genoa 6-1.
Uruguayan international striker Edinson Cavani scored two of them to take his tally for the season in Serie A to nine.
Palermo were unable to give new coach Bortolo Mutti a winning start as the 40th coach of the reign of club owner Maurizio Zamparini saw his side let a 2-0 lead slip to a 2-2 draw with strugglers Novara.
Juventus had the better chances of an entertaining match – Claudio Marchisio scraping the bottom of a post as early as the eighth minute with a rasping shot with the outside of his right foot.
Udinese, though, were fortunate to find Juve’s frontman Alessandro Matri off form yesterday and he was replaced after 70 minutes.
Udinese’s Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic also played his part blocking Matri’s effort in the 18th minute – beautifully set up by Italy veteran midfielder Andrea Pirlo – and saved a header from Giorgio Chiellini in the 52nd minute.
The hosts preferred to sit back and hit Juventus on the break, Brazilian Danilo Larengeira heading just over the bar in the 57th minute while Matri’s opposite number “Toto” Di Natale was also having an off night.
However, despite their managing to hold Juventus at bay, their tactics and positioning did not please their coach Francesco Guidolin and eventually his antics got him sent from the touchline in time added on.
On Tuesday, an own goal by Francesco Pisano and one from Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the hour were enough to give champions Milan the three points and send them top of the league standings.
Denis 17 pen; Marilungo 18, 44; Peluso 71;
HT: 3-1. Att: 16,081.
Taddei 17; Osvaldo 40;
HT: 0-2. Att: 16,055.
Red card: Portanova 77.
Pazzini 34; Milito 49; Cambiasso 73; Alvarez 81;
HT: 1-1. Att: 39,602.
Cavani 12, 24; Hamsik 17; Pandev 45; Gargano 49; Zuniga 80;
HT: 4-1. Att: 30,000.
Mazzarani 77; Rigoni 84;
Ludi 20 og; Bertolo 74;
HT: 0-1. Att: 9,000.
Red card: Ilicic (P) 43.
Modesto 5; Biabiany 23; Floccari 44;
Almiron 21; Lodi 74 pen; Catellani 85;
HT: 3-1. Att: 10,814.
Saturday, January 7
18.00 Siena vs Lazio.
20.45 Inter vs Parma.
Sunday, January 8
12.30 Udinese vs Cesena.
15.00 Atalanta vs Milan; Bologna vs Catania; Cagliari vs Genoa; Lecce vs Juventus; Novara vs Fiorentina; Roma vs Chievo.
20.45 Palermo vs Napoli.
12 goals: Denis (Atalanta).
11 goals: Ibrahimovic (Milan).
10 goals: Di Natale (Udinese).
9 goals: Cavani (Napoli).
8 goals: Klose (Lazio).
7 goals: Jovetic (Fiorentina), Giovinco (Parma), Osvaldo (Roma).