Juventus blew the chance to secure their ninth straight Scudetto as a stoppage time goal earned relegation threatened Udinese an unlikely 2-1 victory over the Old Lady on Thursday night.
Despite their lowly league position, the hosts started the game brightly but lacked cutting edge in the final third. Juventus improved as the first half progressed and eventually found a breakthrough on the stroke of half time when Matthijs de Ligt surged forward to fire a low drive into the back of the net.
Udinese came out strongly in the second half and grabbed a deserved equaliser courtesy of Ilija Nestorovski’s diving header with 52 minutes on the clock. Juventus pushed for the goal that would secure them their ninth straight Scudetto but could not break the home side down.
With Juve surging forward, Udinese hit them on the counter with Seko Fofana breaking free and sliding the ball home to secure an unlikely victory.
Here’s 90min’s breakdown of the game…
Starting XI: Musso (6); ter Avest (6), Troost-Ekong (7), Becao (7), Nuytinck (7), Zeegelaar (6); De Paul (7), Fofana (8), Sema (7); Nestorovski (8), Okaka (7 .
Substitutes: Stryger Larsen (6).
Key Talking Point
All Juventus had to do to clinch the Serie A title was beat Udinese. Lowly, relegation threatened Udinese. The same Udinese side who have scored 32 goals all season.
Did they do it? Absolutely not. They blew another lead and ensured that they’d have to wait at least a few more days to get their hands on the trophy.
It was a pretty turgid evening for Maurizio Sarri’s side. The visitors’ biggest issues were in midfield. Aaron Ramsey, Rodrigo Bentancur and Adrien Rabiot were all poor, offering little incision and repeatedly making routine errors.
Things were almost as bad up front. Dybala offered some invention but the Argentine looked uncomfortable alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, with Federico Bernardeschi and
substitute Douglas Costa similarly out of sorts.
Barring a cataclysmic disaster, this result has merely delayed the inevitable. Juve will be hoping that when they do eventually secured the title, they manage to look a lot more convincing than this.
Starting XI: Szczęsny (7); Danilo (5), Rugani (6), de Ligt (7), Alex Sandro (4); Ramsey (5), Bentancur (5), Rabiot (5); Bernardeschi (5), Dybala (6), Ronaldo (5) .
Substitutes: Costa (5), Matuidi (5), Cuadrado (6).
STAR MAN – Matthijs de Ligt
Just 20 years old and already staking a claim to be the best centre-back in Serie A, Matthijs de Ligt can be happy with his display against Udinese.
His goal was a splendid nod to the Dutch goalscoring defenders of yesteryear and he marshalled the backline well all evening. Well, for most of the evening.
Next up, Udinese’s fight against relegation continues against mid-table Cagliari. Juventus meanwhile, host Sampdoria. Both games take place on Sunday.