Giorgio Chiellini is delighted to see Juventus challenging at the Serie A summit again, but he struggles to see the Bianconeri winning the Scudetto this term.

Chiellini won nine Serie A titles during his distinguished spell with Juve, which came to an end at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season as he left for Los Angeles FC in MLS.

In their first season after the defender's departure, Juve finished seventh in Serie A, hampered by a 10-point deduction that was handed down following an investigation into the club's finances. 

However, Massimiliano Allegri has overseen a revival of their fortunes this campaign, with the Bianconeri sitting two points behind Inter at the top of Serie A after 15 games.

A 1-0 win over Napoli briefly took Juventus top on Friday, only for Inter to recapture the lead by thrashing Udinese 4-0.

While Chiellini has been impressed by his former club's resurgence, he believes toppling the Nerazzurri is a tough ask.

"It will be hard," he told Stats Perform.

"If they can be as consistent as Inter, if they arrive in that situation in March, I think it could be a possibility, but it's hard following a team for many months in a row. 

"We'll see, we'll see. I'm very happy obviously that they are having a good season and I hope they can finish first and win the title. 

"I think the key is the consistency of Inter, who are by far the favourites for the league." 

Juventus' off-pitch problems have refused to go away this term, though, with midfielder Paul Pogba suspended by the club after testing positive for heightened levels of testosterone following a win over Udinese in August.

Pogba's B sample also returned a positive test result, and he could face a ban of between two and four years if found guilty of doping.

Chiellini was a team-mate of Pogba's during the Frenchman's first spell in Turin between 2012 and 2016, and he says the midfielder's current situation is sad to see.

Asked how he responded to Pogba's positive test, Chiellini said: "I just text him because I knew him as a kid, from when he was 19. I love him as a good guy and I'm very sad for the situation. 

"I don't know other things, just what is public, because I cannot ask him; 'What happened? Did you do this?' It's something very bad. 

"I just ask people to be close to him and give support to him. I'm very sad and I don't know how to finish this type of situation. Everyone who has known Paul in his life will be very sad about what's happening."

Juventus moved top of Serie A, for 24 hours at least, with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over reigning champions Napoli.

Federico Gatti headed the only goal of the game early in the second half to take his side a point above Inter Milan, who face Udinese at San Siro on Saturday evening.

Manager Massimiliano Allegri had challenged his players to rectify the club’s wretched recent results against Napoli, Juve having lost five of their last seven league meetings including a 5-1 thrashing in January.

And the Bianconeri boss got what he wanted after the home side weathered an early storm at the Allianz Stadium to record their 11th win of the season.

Napoli started brightly and were inches away from taking the lead in the ninth minute, Matteo Politano’s curling shot leaving Wojciech Szczesny flat-footed but agonisingly grazing the outside of the post.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia then failed to even hit the woodwork as he wasted a glorious chance shortly before the half-hour mark.

Victor Osimhen superbly controlled a long clearance on his chest and drew both Juventus central defenders out of position before squaring the ball to Kvaratskhelia, who took a slightly heavy touch before blazing his shot over the bar as Szczesny dived at his feet.

Szczesny was in the thick of the action again 10 minutes later as he produced a stunning reflex save from Giovanni Di Lorenzo, who had been gifted a clear sight of goal after Bremer inadvertently headed the ball off team-mate Gatti.

The flag did go up for offside as Juve struggled to clear their lines, but that took nothing away from the brilliance of the former Arsenal goalkeeper as the sides headed into the interval on level terms.

Parity lasted just five minutes of the second period, Andrea Cambiaso providing a perfect cross from the right for Gatti to head home from just five yards out.

Szczesny looked to have undone all his good work in the 71st minute when he hit a careless clearance straight to substitute Eljif Elmas, who headed the ball straight to Osimhen to fire home, only for Osimhen to be correctly ruled offside.

Napoli piled on the pressure in the final minutes as Juventus defended deep, but Giacomo Raspadori’s low shot was comfortably saved by Szczesny at the foot of the post.

Walter Mazzarri has now won just one of his first four games in charge since returning to Napoli for a second spell, a run of results which leaves his side fifth in the table and 12 points behind Juve.

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri has challenged his players to rectify the club’s wretched recent results against rivals Napoli to move top of the Serie A table.

Juve have lost five of their past seven league meetings with the reigning champions, including a 5-1 thrashing in January, but are favourites for Friday evening’s clash at Allianz Stadium.

The in-form Bianconeri sit second in the table and will climb above leaders Inter Milan for at least 24 hours by registering an 11th victory of the season.

Fifth-placed Napoli are struggling to mount a title defence and, having last month reappointed former boss Walter Mazzarri after sacking Rudi Garcia, slipped 11 points adrift of Inter following a 3-0 home loss to them on Sunday.

“Tomorrow will be very tough,” Allegri told a press conference.

“Napoli stayed in the game against Inter until the second goal and we’ve only beaten them once in our last seven meetings – that’s something we need to put right.

“They’re a dangerous side away from home and have picked up 17 points on the road already.”

Juventus are just two points behind Inter, with whom they drew 1-1 on November 26, following a nine-match unbeaten run.

Allegri wants a minimum of six points from Juve’s next five fixtures to ensure the club reach the halfway point of the campaign in a stronger position than last term.

“This is a six-pointer – we have five games left before we reach the midway point of the season and they’ll all be difficult,” said Allegri, whose side finished a disappointing 2022-23 campaign in seventh position.

“Our target is to finish the first half of the campaign with more points than we did last term, when we had 38.

“We hope to achieve our target but we mustn’t take it for granted.

“Part of this job involves dealing with the pressure but we have to remember the league doesn’t finish tomorrow. There’s still a long way to go.”

Mazzarri, who initially managed Napoli between 2009 and 2013, beat Atalanta 2-1 in the first match of his second spell before the resounding loss to Inter.

The 62-year-old hopes his team can kick-start a revival by beating one of their fiercest rivals.

“Juventus v Napoli is a match that we know well because of the special sensations it generates and the importance of two teams that have been protagonists of the championship in recent years,” he told a press conference.

“We are playing against an opponent who is doing very well and there is little to add about the depth of the match.

“We go there as Italian champions and we want to highlight the progress that the boys are making.

“If we look at the squads, I don’t think there is as much of a difference as the league table says. This is also true compared to Inter.

“Unfortunately in football there are also moments and this is not a brilliant period for Napoli, especially in relation to the great last season.

“In football sometimes it doesn’t take much to make a change, it’s a question of trust but also of luck.

“There are moments which are going badly but a positive episode can change the wind.”

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has suggested Sunday’s table-topping clash with Inter Milan is not the time for change.

Inter go into the latest instalment of the derby d’Italia with a two-point advantage at the top of the Serie A table.

A sixth success in a row for Juventus would take them to the summit and Allegri has hinted he would not be making radical changes to his winning side.

The 56-year-old told a press conference: “We’re approaching the game as best we can and we’ve prepared well for it.

“It’s a big test for us and it can help us improve as a team. We’re up against the league leaders and the title favourites.

“We have lots of midfield options and I don’t think switching formation is a good idea. All our forwards are in good shape. They have to make a decisive contribution.”

Juventus conceded their first goal since September in the 2-1 home win over Cagliari last time out and Allegri continued: “It will come down to small margins tomorrow and it should be an excellent test for us. The lads are all ready to play.

“It’s sure to be a great football spectacle with a full stadium – but the season doesn’t end tomorrow.

“It’s been a long time since we were playing for top spot. We must show our desire to win it. I’m confident the lads will perform well.

“We’re approaching the game as best we can and we’ve prepared well for it. It’s a big test for us and it can help us improve as a team. We’re up against the league leaders and the title favourites.

“I have a solid, close-knit group of players who are ready to produce a big performance in what will be a fantastic match for Italian football. We must keep working away and maintain our hunger.

“Football is full of surprises and you have to deal with them calmly.”

On their opponents, he added: “(Simone) Inzaghi and Inter are doing really well. They give little away and if they take the lead, it’s difficult to get back in the game.”

Inter have a 100 per cent away record and are chasing a seventh-successive victory in all competitions.

Boss Inzaghi told his team’s pre-match press conference: “It will be a challenging game, with maximum concentration required.”

Benjamin Pavard is again ruled out for the visitors with the knee injury sustained in the win at Atalanta three weeks ago, while fellow defender Alessandro Bastoni joins him on the sidelines because of a calf issue sustained on international duty with Italy.

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri is happy for Juventus to continue their progress under the radar.

The Turin club are firmly in the Serie A title hunt after a strong start to the season as they bid to make a return to European qualification, having been excluded from this year’s Europa Conference League over breaches of UEFA’s financial fair play rules.

Juventus travel to Fiorentina on Sunday night bidding for a fourth straight win and Allegri is pleased with their progress.

“We must work on our weaknesses and become rock solid,” Allegri told his pre-match press conference.

“We’re on the right track but we’ve only played 10 games and that’s not enough to achieve our goal of qualifying for next year’s Champions League.

“As I said, the important thing is working hard to grow and improve to become a rock-solid team. We need to be more precise and efficient in front of goal as well as improving our defence because things can go wrong very quickly in football.

“It takes balance. We have to remain solid throughout the season because we’ve got a goal to achieve.

“Low profile, less talk and more graft.”

After an impressive start to the campaign, Fiorentina’s form has tailed off a touch having lost their last two matches without scoring.

But Allegri is wary of the threat posed by the hosts, with Nicolas Gonzalez a particular challenge to Juventus having scored five goals in nine matches.

“It’s a big game tomorrow because there’s always been great rivalry between Juve and Fiorentina,” Allegri added.

“They’re an excellent side even though they’re coming in off the back of two league defeats. They like to attack and play good football.

“We’re going to need a big performance if we want to come away with a good result. I consider Fiorentina one of the best-equipped teams of the season because they have lots of great players both technically and physically.

“They will be fighting for a place in the top four. This year Fiorentina have got a great squad.

“They have a striker like Nico Gonzalez, two centre-forwards with Christian Kouame on the left and Giacomo Bonaventura who’s doing big things. Arthur has also recovered from injury and is doing well.”

Former Everton striker Moise Kean has yet to score this season in nine appearances for Juventus and Italy but Allegri praised the 23-year-old’s growth and told all his attackers that they need to contribute.

“Kean is in a great place. He’s grown both physically and technically and his mentality has improved no end. I’m happy with him but he must keep improving,” Allegri added.

“All five of our forwards are in good form. (Federico) Chiesa and (Dusan) Vlahovic know they need to contribute to the good of the team, just like the rest of the group because everyone is important.”

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri will allow Nicolo Fagioli to spend the seven months of his suspension for betting breaches seeking treatment for his addiction while keeping himself fit for potential involvement in the run-in.

Bianconeri midfielder Fagioli, 22, had five months of a one-year ban suspended this week and was fined 12,500 euros (£10,848), while he agreed to a therapy plan of at least six months to tackle his gambling problem.

The ban means Fagioli – who has the Turin club’s official support – will miss almost the entirety of the Serie A campaign that remains but he will be eligible for the final two games, against Bologna and Monza, in May.

Allegri hopes Juve will then be in a position to challenge for the Scudetto, if they have not already claimed their first championship since 2020, and Fagioli will be enthusiastically welcomed back into the fold to get the Old Lady over the line.

Before Sunday evening’s trip to title rivals AC Milan, the boss told a press conference: “We have said everything regarding Fagioli, the club have expressed their opinion and I agree.

“Now a journey begins for Nicolo that will bring him back to the field in May – these seven months will help him maintain his athletic condition while he engages in social work.”

Going into the weekend Juve were four points behind leaders Milan, with Inter wedged in between the pair, and Allegri plans to extend their three-match unbeaten run with a positive result that would certainly turn up the heat in the title race.

“We’re expecting a good and challenging match tomorrow, with first against third in the standings,” he said. “We know the difficulties this match brings, playing at San Siro is both beautiful and difficult.”

On their hopes of reclaiming their status as top dogs in Italy, he added: “Are we favourites? Our goal is to earn as many points as possible to reach the end of May in the top four.

“In the meantime, let’s enjoy tomorrow’s match against Milan and then we’ll see what we’ve been able to do.”

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is suspended alongside Fagioli, with the defensive trio of Mattia De Sciglio, Alex Sandro and Danilo out injured.

Milan, who have won four straight league games, are without the banned duo of goalkeeper Mike Maignan and defender Theo Hernandez, while English midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is among the high-profile names still on the treatment table.

With Maignan unavailable, Rossoneri boss Stefano Pioli is planning to throw veteran stopper Antonio Mirante, 40, into action for the first time this campaign and has no concerns whatsoever about his ability to cope with the Juve attack.

He told reporters: “Will we change the way we play with Mirante in goal? No.

“Antonio knows how to read plays and watch the gaps, so it will be down to the outfield guys to better understand how Juve move and therefore how to deal with them.”

Massimiliano Allegri says victory is the only option for Juventus in their Turin derby with Torino on Saturday.

Juve host their city rivals in Serie A hoping to hang on to the coat-tails of the two Milan clubs at the top of the table.

They are also looking to bounce back from a disappointing 0-0 draw with Atalanta last week and Allegri says it is important to get bragging rights in a “special” encounter.

“We are not satisfied with a result other than victory,” he said in a press conference reported on the club’s website.

“It will be a derby and these are always special matches. In managing the ball and passing, we will undoubtedly have to play a better match than the one in Bergamo, aware of the value of the team we will face.

“We face a Torino that is difficult to play against, an aggressive team led by Ivan Juric who is an excellent coach. For him, the results he achieved and the growth of his players speak for themselves.

Midfielder Paul Pogba remains suspended amid reports he has tested positive for testosterone in his B sample.

Juventus will also be without Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa but Moise Kean and Kenan Yildiz will be involved.

“Moise Kean is doing well and will play.” Allegri added.

“It’s sad not to have Chiesa and Vlahovic because they are doing very well, but these things are part of the game. Kenan Yildiz is ready to play like everyone else who is available.

“On Saturday I will see, the derby is important and above all for us it could serve as another step forward in the standings. We are calm.

“In terms of goalscorers we have Kean, Arek Milik and Yildiz, in midfield we have Adrien Rabiot, who is a goalscorer, Nicolo Fagioli and Fabio Miretti who will start to score goals soon, and then several defenders who are always dangerous on dead-ball situations.”

Turin is black and white if recent results are anything to go by, with Juventus unbeaten in their last 17 meetings with Torino going back to 2015.

Their head coach Ivan Juric has seen his team push Juve close in recent years, without being able to get over the line.

And he hopes that changes on Saturday.

“An aggressive Juve awaits us, we hope to repeat what we have done in the past in terms of performances but with a different result,” he said on his club’s official website.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has attempted to play down expectations after his side’s strong start to the season.

The Bianconeri have claimed 10 points from their opening four Serie A games and sit second in the table, two points behind early leaders Inter Milan.

With no European commitments this season, Juve could made a strong push to reclaim the title but Allegri does not want to look further than Saturday’s trip to Sassuolo.

Allegri told reporters: “Now we have to stay focused because there’s too much euphoria and, while on the one hand that’s nice, it can take away energy and attention.

“We’re only on matchday five and Sassuolo, with the exception of a 3-0 win a few years ago, have always been tough opponents.

“They’re coming off the back of a big defeat to Frosinone, so we’ll have a tough task and we will have to be very attentive, physical and technically good. It will be important to get a good result.”

Allegri insists other teams are still in a stronger position than Juve and he thinks it will be tough enough to get back into the Champions League.

He said: “We have a chance to get into the top four, but it won’t be easy because Inter, AC Milan and Napoli are stronger than everybody.

“We have to go one step at a time, with balance, without mood swings that are tied to single results.

“Whatever path we take will be determined to have been right or not by the results at the end of the season.

“We have to have the desire to be at the top but we have to get the results to get into the Champions League.”

Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic have been passed fit for the trip to Reggio Emilia but with a short turnaround before Tuesday’s home clash with Lecce, Allegri recognises the need to manage his squad.

He said: “Vlahovic had some back pain and Federico had some fatigue with his flexor but they’re fully available.

“We are only thinking about Sassuolo but we have a game three days later and I think we’ll rotate on Tuesday. I’ll evaluate Vlahovic’s condition.

“We have a less experienced squad this year but we’ve got enthusiasm and dynamism.

“We have to keep working hard to improve, remembering that we have to run more than everybody else and results will bring more confidence and belief.”

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has challenged his team to “find an extra gear” when they take on Lazio in Serie A on Saturday.

The Turin giants are unbeaten in their opening three outings of the season, winning 2-0 at Empoli in their last game before the international break.

Lazio bounced back from losing their opening two matches by winning 2-1 at champions Napoli and Allegri knows they will pose a stern test at the Allianz Stadium.

He said at a press conference: “Tomorrow will be a tough game and we have to be 100 per cent focused on this game alone.

“Lazio are a direct rival for the top four. Lazio are a well-organised team, both in defence and attack.

“Tomorrow we’ll be at home, so we’ll see if we can find an extra gear to click into after the win at Empoli. There’s a good atmosphere in the group and it’s always tough to choose who will start.

“But it’s good to know that we have a competitive squad and that will be important to qualify for next season’s Champions League. It’s a young group with a lot of desire, and tomorrow is a big test.”

Allegri said there was a “good chance” Federico Chiesa would start, having recovered from the muscle issue which forced him to withdraw from the Italy squad.

Having Chiesa available will be a welcome boost for Allegri, the forward having already scored twice this season.

Allegri said he could not comment on the situation facing Paul Pogba, who has been provisionally suspended by Italy’s national anti-doping tribunal after testing positive for testosterone.

“We’re sorry about the whole situation and are waiting for developments and further clarity,” he said.

“We hope that light will be shed on what has happened as soon as possible. I can’t comment on other issues because they concern Paul directly and they are strictly personal.”

He also declined to elaborate further on the reasons behind Leonardo Bonucci’s sudden departure to German side Union Berlin earlier this month.

“I’ve already said everything I have to say about Bonucci, a number of times,” he said. “I don’t feel the need to say any more, I only wish him the best of luck for the rest of his career.”

Milan secured a top-four Serie A finish with a 1-0 win at Juventus as Olivier Giroud's header dealt a knockout blow to the Bianconeri's own hopes of Champions League qualification.

Still reeling from their 10-point deduction and Monday's miserable 4-1 defeat at Empoli, Juve required a win at Allianz Stadium to take the top-four battle to the season's final matchday.

However, the Bianconeri's lack of attacking thrust was on full display once again, with Giroud scoring the only goal of the game with an outstanding header as half-time approached on Sunday.

The Rossoneri were comfortable from there as they ensured Juve's chaotic season will end on another sour note, piling more pressure on embattled head coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Sandro Tonali headed Junior Messias' delivery over as Milan started brightly, but Juve soon improved, with Angel Di Maria failing to hook Moise Kean's cut-back home on the stretch.

More Bianconeri chances came and went as Federico Chiesa hammered over and Kean worked Mike Maignan from distance, but Juve found themselves behind five minutes before half-time.

Davide Calabria's hanging cross from the right was met with a textbook header from Giroud, who planted the ball beyond Wojciech Szczesny's despairing dive.

Adrien Rabiot forced a comfortable save from Maignan as Juve toiled after the restart, failing to make any attacking headway without injured striker Dusan Vlahovic.

Szczesny stuck out a leg to deny Alexis Saelemaekers and Rafael Leao fired over on the break, while Danilo had a close-range effort blocked in a goalmouth scramble as Juve's bid for Champions League football ended with a whimper.

What does it mean? Milan profit from Juve woes

When Juventus' 10-point deduction was confirmed earlier this week, Milan were the chief beneficiary after being propelled into the top four.

Stefano Pioli's men were determined not to let that advantage slip here, the Rossoneri weathering the Juve storm midway through the first half and deserving the three points after Giroud's goal. 

Milan thus completed just their third Serie A double over Juventus in the last 50 years, also doing so in the 1990-91 and 2009-10 campaigns.

Giroud the man of the moment

Giroud has so often been the man for the big occasion for both club and country, and he gave Szczesny no chance with a firm header just as Juventus looked to be in the ascendency.

The 36-year-old striker has now scored 12 times in Serie A this season, his best return in one of Europe's top five leagues since he hit as many Premier League goals for Arsenal in the 2016-17 campaign.

Fatal blow for Allegri?

Allegri has faced stern criticism for most of the campaign, and the pressure may just become intolerable now they will finish outside of Italy's top four for the first time since 2010-11 (when they finished seventh).

Having also fallen short in the Europa League semi-finals, the Bianconeri have suffered three successive defeats for the first time since doing so in 2011 under Luigi Delneri.

What's next? 

Milan wrap up their Serie A season against Verona next Sunday, while Juventus will be playing for a Europa League place when they visit Udinese on the same day.

Juventus' hopes of a top-four Serie A finish suffered a huge double blow as the Bianconeri were thrashed 4-1 at Empoli on the same day they received a 10-point deduction. 

Moments before kick-off, Juve expressed "great bitterness" at the Italian Football Federation's decision to issue a new penalty over alleged transfer irregularities, putting them seventh in the table.

Massimiliano Allegri's side showed no signs of being fired up by that ruling, as Francesco Caputo's penalty and Sebastiano Luperto's powerful effort quickly put Empoli in control. 

Caputo doubled up with a delicate finish after half-time and though Federico Chiesa pulled one back, Roberto Piccoli's stoppage-time strike compounded the visitors' misery and left them five points outside the top four with two games remaining.

Federico Gatti had the ball in the net after 14 minutes, prodding in the rebound after Arkadiusz Milik headed against the crossbar, but Bremer was adjudged to have fouled goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario.

Empoli took full advantage of that escape four minutes later, Caputo drilling home from the spot after Milik clumsily tripped Nicolo Cambiaghi just inside the area.

The hosts only required a further three minutes to double their lead, Luperto smashing into the roof of the net from close range after Wojciech Szczesny denied Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro.

Juve missed huge chances to pull one back either side of half-time, Bremer and Dusan Vlahovic both blazing over the crossbar when unmarked inside the area. 

Vlahovic's miss was swiftly punished as Caputo put the result beyond doubt after 48 minutes, lifting Akpa Akpro's square ball over Szczesny to complete his brace.

Chiesa gave Juve a faint glimmer of hope when he drilled a shot under Vicario with five minutes left, but Empoli restored their three-goal cushion in stoppage time as Piccoli fired into the bottom-left corner.

Juventus moved to the brink of Champions League qualification with a 2-0 Serie A win over Cremonese on Sunday, though their victory was marred by another injury suffered by Paul Pogba.

With one eye on Thursday's decisive Europa League semi-final clash with Sevilla, Massimiliano Allegri made seven changes to his line-up, handing Pogba his first Serie A start since returning to Turin.

Pogba's outing lasted just 24 minutes as he was substituted in tears after appearing to suffer a thigh injury, and though his withdrawal initially affected Juve, fellow midfielder Nicolo Fagioli broke Cremonese's resistance with a powerful drive after half-time.

Bremer headed a late second as Juve went eight points clear of fifth-placed Milan with three games remaining, leaving them favoured for a top-four finish, provided their 15-point deduction is not restored.

Juve struggled to break Cremonese down in a low-key opening, and they suffered a huge blow when Pogba pulled up innocuously, before exiting the field visibly upset seven years to the day after his last Serie A start.

Danilo was unable to convert the rebound when Marco Carnesecchi spilt Bremer's header 32 minutes in, and that was as close as the Bianconeri came before being booed off at half-time.

Federico Chiesa blazed over the crossbar as Juve sought an improvement after the break, while Adrien Rabiot forced Carnesecchi into action with a powerful 25-yard strike.

Chiesa turned provider as Juve broke the deadlock after 55 minutes, though Fagioli was deserving of all the credit as he hammered the winger's lay-off into the roof of the net from 20 yards out.

A VAR review denied Juve a second goal when Arkadiusz Milik converted with 16 minutes remaining, but the contest was over five minutes later when Bremer reacted quickest to nod in following a corner.

 

What does it mean? Juve edge towards finish line

Juve's hopes of Champions League qualification have been under threat on several occasions this season, including when they were hit with a 15-point deduction in January, and more recently when they ended April with a four-match winless run in Serie A (D1 L3).

However, Allegri's men have hit form just as their rivals have faltered, winning three successive games to move well clear of Milan.

Off-field matters could yet have an impact, but on the pitch, Juve know any further slip-ups from the Rossoneri will confirm their place in the top four.

Pogba woes continue

Pogba returned to Turin from Manchester United with much fanfare last year, but it's fair to say his Juve comeback has not been successful. 

Beset by injuries since pre-season, Pogba has made just six league appearances this campaign, featuring for a total of 84 minutes.

Fagioli steps up

Following Pogba's withdrawal, Juve needed somebody to step up and provide some attacking inspiration.

Fagioli, who spent a period in Cremonese's youth system and enjoyed a loan spell with the club last season, did just that. 

Following his thunderous strike, he is one of just two midfielders born this century to score three goals and register three assists in Serie A this term, alongside Udinese's Lazar Samardzic.

What's next? 

It's all to play for as Juventus head to Sevilla for the second leg of their Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday, following a 1-1 first-leg draw.

Samuel Iling-Junior marked his first Serie A start with a goal as Juventus went second in the table with a 2-0 win at Atalanta. 

The English teenager fired home the opener before Dusan Vlahovic made the points safe in stoppage time, lifting the Bianconeri above Inter and Lazio in the race for Champions League qualification. 

Massimiliano Allegri's side made it back-to-back Serie A victories despite spending long periods under pressure at Gewiss Stadium, with Atalanta registering 24 shots with no reward and twice hitting the woodwork.

The hosts thus missed their opportunity to close the gap on the top four, to which they remain five points adrift.

Atalanta almost gifted Juventus the lead in the 22nd minute as Angel Di Maria pounced on Teun Koopmeiners' loose pass before shooting wide of the far post, while Arkadiusz Milik sent a header off target.

Juventus survived a couple of huge scares before the break. Giorgio Scalvini's header hit the post from Koopmeiners' corner, before Mario Pasalic fired over from 12 yards in stoppage time.

But the visitors broke the deadlock 11 minutes after the restart. Iling-Junior stole possession and fed Adrien Rabiot, before reacting quickest to fire into the roof of the net after the midfielder's cross ricocheted into his path.

Atalanta looked to respond with substitute Luis Muriel shooting wide from distance, while Wojciech Szczesny beat away Koopmeiners' fierce free-kick and Davide Zappacosta stuck the foot of the post from the edge of the area.

After keeping their opponents at bay, Juve sealed the points in the dying moments. Federico Chiesa raced away on the counter before feeding Vlahovic, who whipped a wonderful 20-yard strike into the top corner.

 

Dusan Vlahovic's fine volley saw Juventus end a five-game winless run with a 2-1 victory over Lecce in Serie A, boosting the Bianconeri's hopes of Champions League qualification. 

Vlahovic fired home on the turn to hand Massimiliano Allegri's men their first league win since April 1, deciding an entertaining contest at the Allianz Stadium.

Leandro Paredes had earlier seen his terrific free-kick cancelled out by Assan Ceesay's penalty, while both teams had goals disallowed for offside in an open first half.

While Lecce continued to test the Bianconeri backline after the break, Vlahovic's first league goal since February 7 ultimately proved decisive, piling the pressure on Juve's rivals in a fascinating battle for a top-four finish.

Juve survived an early scare as Ceesay was caught offside when tapping home, but the Bianconeri hit the front in spectacular fashion after 15 minutes, Paredes bending his free-kick around the wall and into the bottom-left corner from 25 yards out.

Fabio Miretti thought he had his first senior goal 10 minutes later as he volleyed Nicolo Fagioli's dinked pass home, but a VAR review saw the Juve youngster ruled offside.

Juve then suffered two further blows as they lost Mattia De Sciglio to a serious-looking knee injury before Danilo's clumsy handball allowed Ceesay to level from the penalty spot.

However, Lecce were level for just three minutes as Vlahovic spun on Filip Kostic's left-wing cross, finding the bottom-left corner from near the edge of the area.

Miretti was guilty of a glaring miss when he prodded wide after the interval, before Danilo crashed a header against the right-hand post.

Wojciech Szczesny's reflex save denied Ceesay as Lecce threatened another equaliser, but Juve stood firm to leapfrog Lazio into second, ahead of their game against Sassuolo later on Wednesday.

Juventus missed the opportunity to go second in Serie A as they were held to a 1-1 draw away at Bologna on Sunday.

Second-placed Lazio were beaten 3-1 by Inter earlier in the day, yet Riccardo Orsolini smashed home a first-half penalty at Renato Dall'Ara to leave Juve fearing a fourth straight league defeat.

Those concerns were not helped when Arkadiusz Milik missed a chance to level from the spot, but he brilliantly fired in after the interval to deny Bologna a first Serie A win over the Bianconeri in 22 attempts.

Juve remain below Lazio and crucially just three points ahead of Inter, Milan and Roma in fourth, fifth and sixth, and they face a real dogfight over the final six games if they are to finish in the Champions League places.

The hosts were ahead after just 10 minutes, a lengthy VAR review adjudging Danilo to have brought down Orsolini before the winger picked himself up off the turf to thump his penalty into the bottom-right corner.

Lukasz Skorupski preserved his side's lead with a sensational double-stop from Nicolo Fagioli, and the goalkeeper came up big again shortly after.

The referee initially awarded a free-kick after Milik was pushed over by Jhon Lucumi, but the VAR found the foul to have occurred inside the Bologna box. Skorupski was not fooled by the striker's hop-skip-and-a-jump penalty technique, though, comfortably getting down to his right to save.

Milik was more ruthless in the second half, however, bouncing back from his poor spot-kick to brilliantly lash a first-time snap-shot into the bottom corner and level.

There were big chances at either end in the closing stages, but neither side could find a winner as Juve at least snapped their losing streak.

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