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HomeSerie APreliminary decision in the title race? Juve also slip up against Udine

Preliminary decision in the title race? Juve also slip up against Udine

After losing the summit clash at Inter Milan, Juventus Turin also slipped up at home against Udinese Calcio. In the 1-0 defeat, they lacked ideas up front and made a crucial faux pas at the back

With the 1:1 draw against Empoli and, above all, the 0:1 draw at Inter Milan, Juventus had recently suffered a severe setback in the title race. Against basement club Udinese, the aim was to lick their wounds and boost their confidence – but then everything turned out differently.

Turin coach Massimiliano Allegri had to make do without the injured Vlahovic and Kean as well as Danilo, who was suspended with a yellow card. There were four changes from the Inter game: Alex Sandro, Weah, Chiesa and Milik played for Danilo, Vlahovic, Yildiz and Kostic.

Juve quickly gained the advantage on the pitch, but still found it really difficult against a team in sixteenth place in the table who, after five games without a win in a row, stonewalled from the start and hardly dared to go forward. The visitors’ idea was simple: keep things tight at the back and hope for mistakes up front.

Alex Sandro’s costly faux pas

And it worked: In the 25th minute, Samardzic struck a free-kick cross excellently from the right in front of goal, where Alex Sandro made a capital gaffe and virtually laid the ball off to Giannetti. The defender thanked him and slotted home for a completely unexpected 1:0 lead

In response to falling behind, Juve stepped up the pressure but hardly created any compelling goalscoring opportunities. The home side played too statically and hardly found any gaps. It was only shortly before the half-time whistle that Milik caused a sensation with a header, but Udine’s Düsseldorf-born goalkeeper Okoye made a save (42′).

It was the same picture after the break: Juve had an enormous amount of possession, but knew little about what to do with it and repeatedly got stuck in the visitors’ tightly meshed defense. Milik was unlucky when his goal to make it 1:1 was disallowed because the ball had just crossed the goal line from Chiesa’s previous corner (59′).

The closer the final whistle came, the more hectic it became. Udine found themselves in a defensive battle, Juve in a test of patience. Allegri brought on Yildiz, Nicolussi Cavuglia and Illing-Junior – to no avail. Juve continued to play without spirit and were ultimately beaten 1-0. It was also their first home defeat of the season

The defeat means that the Turin side, who face Hellas Verona on Saturday (6pm), are now a full point behind leaders Inter – and the Milan side still have a game in hand. Udine, on the other hand, picked up an important three points against relegation and are now three points above the ominous line and can now go into their basement clash against Cagliari on Sunday (3pm) with renewed confidence

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