Juventus’ title hopes take a hit with defeat at home to Udinese

By Sports Desk February 12, 2024

Lautaro Giannetti dealt Juventus’ Serie A title hopes a potentially fatal blow as he grabbed the only goal of the game to earn a stunning 1-0 win for struggling Udinese.

The visitors made the most of a sluggish performance from Massimiliano Allegri’s men, who still trail leaders Inter Milan by seven points having played a game more.

Arkadiusz Milik was guilty of wasting most of the home side’s good chances as Udinese held firm for only their second win in 13 Serie A games which moves them three points clear of the relegation zone.

Looking to bounce back from last week’s loss to Inter, Juventus looked unlikely to be duly troubled in a strong start which saw Andrea Cambiaso and Federico Chiesa come close.

Udinese goalkeeper Maduka Okoye was busy early on, saving well from Milik’s close-range header then denying Federico Gatti who should have done better from the edge of the box.

The visitors grabbed the lead against the run of play in the 25th minute when Giannetti bundled home the loose ball after a free-kick was flicked on by Thomas Kristensen deep into the home box.

Milik failed to reach a cross-shot from Cambiaso that caused panic in the Udinese box and it was clear the home side were once again missing striker Dusan Vlahovic, who was ruled out with a groin strain.

Milik headed straight at Okoye and it could have got worse for Juventus on the stroke of half-time when Sandi Lovric fired a speculative effort over from just outside the box.

Allegri’s men hardly improved after the break as they huffed forward for little reward, although they did briefly think they had levelled on the hour mark.

A corner was headed back for Milik to nod home but celebrations were cut short as the referee ruled the ball had drifted out of play in the course of the initial set-piece.

Chiesa rammed a 72nd-minute effort over the bar while Kenan Yildiz was inches from connecting with Cambiaso’s left-wing cross in front of goal as Udinese managed to hold on for a famous win.

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