Juventus saw their Scudetto hopes suffer a near fatal blow as they succumbed to a shock 1-0 defeat at home to Udinese that leaves The Old Lady seven points adrift of leaders Inter Milan.
Bianconeri boss Massimiliano Allegri was recognised for moving level alongside Marcello Lippi in second place on the all-time list of most appearances in the Juve dugout prior to kick off, but his team were far from their best throughout a contest that will go down as one of the surprises of the season.
The hosts were missing Dusan Vlahovic in attack and Arkadiusz Milik was punished for wasting their best openings when Udinese’s January signing from Velez Sarsfield, Lautaro Giannetti, knocked in a close-range rebound on 25 minutes.
Milik then had a goal correctly chalked off on the hour for Juve as the initial delivery from a right-wing corner went out of play, and that was as close as the home team came to unlocking the visiting rearguard.
The result means second-placed Juve suffer more woe following their Derby d’Italia defeat to Inter last time out and they remain seven points adrift of the leaders having played a game more.
Udinese climb to 15th spot with only their third league win of the season and are now three points above the drop zone.
Next up, Juventus visit Hellas Verona on Saturday. Udinese host Cagliari on Sunday.
Talking Point – A shock of the season contender that means it’s Inter’s to lose
If the Derby d’Italia win and Inter’s comeback success over AS Roma didn’t make the Nerazzurri overwhelming title favourites, then this surely does.
Juventus were fully expected to get back on track and put a struggling Udinese to the sword. But it wasn’t to be as they produced a turgid display with the absence of Vlahovic keenly felt in attack.
The Bianconeri had lost just once prior to their loss against Inter, but back-to-back defeats mean their Scudetto bid appears to be crumbling fast and it’s hard to see beyond Inter Milan now.
Player of the match
Lautaro Giannetti (Udinese). The January signing from Velez Sarsfield is already established as a fans favourite and he capped an excellent defensive display with the all-important goal which will be long remembered by the club’s supporters.
JUVENTUS: Szczesny 6, Gatti 7, Bremer 6, Alex Sandro 6, Weah 6, McKennie 6, Locatelli 6, Rabiot 6, Cambiaso 7, Chiesa 6, Milik 6. Subs: Yildiz 6, Iling Jr 6, Caviglia 6, Cerri n/a.
UDINESE: Okoye 7, Perez 8, Giannetti 8*, Kristensen 8, Ehizibue 7, Lovric 7, Walace 7, Samarzdic 7, Zemura 7, Thauvin 7, Lucca 7. Subs: Ferreira 6, Ebosele 6, Brenner 6, Success 6.
25’ – GOAL! – Juventus 0-1 Udinese: (Giannetti). The defender turns home the loose ball from close range after Alex Sandro had only half dealt with Kristensen’s flick-on from a right-wing free kick.
30’ – JUVENTUS CHANCE! Andrea Cambiaso bursts into the left side of the area beyond one and then glides past another before rifling a cross-shot into the six-yard box that Milik somehow fails to divert home.
60’ – JUVENTUS GOAL RULED OUT! A deep corner from the right is nodded back into the mix for Milik to head home via a defender’s foot on the line. Juve celebrate, but the referee cuts short their joy as the ball arced out from the initial set-piece delivery. Still 1-0 to the visitors.
82’ – JUVENTUS CHANCE! Yildiz throws himself at a lovely ball from the right but somehow fails to make the contact from close range that would surely have led to a leveller.