• Roma can move within three points of Juventus with a win at Napoli tomorrow
Dusan Vlahovic saved a point for Juventus with a last-gasp leveller in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Bologna who finished the match with nine men following a hotly-contested decision to not give Juve a late penalty.
Serbia forward Vlahovic headed in Alvaro Morata’s overhead kick from practically on the goalline to save some face after Marko Arnautovic had put Bologna in the lead seven minutes after the break. The match turned on a bizarre sequence of events with the hosts staring at an embarrassing defeat.
Adama Soumaoro was sent off six minutes from the end for his desperate attempt to stop Morata from equalising, which after a VAR check was ruled to have happened outside the area.
In the confusion, Gary Medel became so livid with referee Juan Luca Sacchi that he was booked twice within seconds and also off the field, while Juve were baffled at how the VAR officials could have ruled Soumaoro’s challenge outside the area.
Bologna thought they had held out in a bizarre end to a match but Vlahovic struck in the fifth minute of added time for fourth-placed Juve, who are now looking over their shoulders.
Roma can close to within three points of Massimiliano Allegri’s side, who sit in the final Champions League spot, with a win at title-chasing Napoli tomorrow.
A beautiful spring evening in Turin had begun with the return of club icon Alessandro Del Piero, who made his first official appearance at the Allianz Stadium since leaving the club against his will in 2012 and was given a standing ovation from fans. However Juve were uninspired despite the presence of the World Cup winner. Arnautovic gave the hosts a warning when he crashed a low drive inches the wrong side of the post seconds after the restart and it wasn’t long before he silenced the home fans by collecting Roberto Soriano’s through ball, gliding past Wojciech Szczesny and rolling into an empty net.
From there Juve pressed hard, twice striking the woodwork, and eventually got the goal which saved a draw but leaves them eight points behind league leaders AC Milan and all but out of the title race.
Franck Ribery believes that Salernitana can perform a miracle escape from relegation after a 2-1 win at fellow strugglers Sampdoria kept alive their hopes of staying up. Goals from Federico Fazio and Ederson in the first six minutes in Genoa were enough to take Salernitana to 19 points and continue the southern team’s bid for safety after an entire season at the bottom of the league.
With two games in hand, Salernitana are nine points behind Cagliari who sit six points and one place outside the relegation zone following their 1-0 win over Sassuolo earlier yesterday. “Today we showed that we’re working hard and we believe in survival... Let’s see what happens,” former France winger Ribery said after playing 25 minutes as a substitute at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
A first win since early January puts Davide Nicola’s team three points behind both Genoa, who lost 2-0 to league leaders AC Milan on Friday, and Venezia after their 1-0 defeat at sixth-placed Fiorentina. “We want to stay in Serie A but it’s been difficult. We’ve played matches which we’ve lost in which we deserved more,” added Ribery, who is still enjoying his football at 39 years old. “When I’m on the pitch, I’m happy, I have fun. Football, for me, is a passion.”
Samp were loudly whistled off the field by irate fans. The club have been dragged right back into the relegation battle and are a point above Cagliari with five rounds of matches remaining after the Easter weekend.
Serie A results
Cagliari 1 (Deiola 42) Sassuolo 0; Fiorentina 1 (Torreira 30) Venezia 0; Juventus 1 (Vlahovic 90+5) Bologna 1 (Arnautovic 52); Sampdoria 1 (Caputo 32) Salernitana 2 (Fazio 4, Ederson 6); Udinese 4 (Ismajli 6-og, Deulofeu 52, Pussetto 79, Samardzic 87) Empoli 1 (Pinamonti 70-pen)
Playing tomorrow (times GMT): Napoli v Roma (1700), Atalanta v Verona (1900)
Played Friday: AC Milan 2 (Leao 11, Messias 87) Genoa 0; Spezia 1 (Maggiore 88) Inter Milan 3 (Brozovic 31, Martinez 73, Sanchez 90+4)
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