Serie A - Cesena draw with Juventus in thriller

Sat, 12 Mar 21:56:00 2011

Struggling Cesena came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with 10-man Juventus in a thrilling Serie A clash at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi.

- 0

Alessandro Matri put the Bianconeri 2-0 up with two clever first-half finishes before Luis Jimenez pulled one back from the spot after a foul which should have seen Juve keeper Gianluigi Buffon sent off.

Juventus went down to 10 men soon afterwards though after defender Marco Motta was shown a second yellow card, with the hosts bombarding their opponents but foiled by an inspired performance from Buffon - and one horror-miss from Emanuele Giaccherini.

The hosts got their equaliser with 10 minutes left when Marco Parolo - who won their penalty - sent home a sweet finish after Juve failed to clear a dangerous free-kick from substitute Alessandro Rosina.

The result moves Cesena a point clear of the relegation zone while Juve stay seventh.

The first half boasted everything the neutral could want bar a punch-up, with goals, horror misses, red cards and controversial decisions the order of a crazed 45 minutes.

Juve winger Milos Krasic almost scored a freak opener when his cross-shot flew just over, while Matri had a superb finish disallowed for offside before he put the visitors ahead with a lovely first-time strike in off the post after a great run and pass from the evergreen Alessandro Del Piero.

The veteran forward was inspired playing just off the former Cagliari striker, putting Simone Pepe in with a wonderful backheel but seeing the Italy winger snatch at his shot.

Cesena were playing their part too, threatening on the counter attack but having to wait until midway through the half for their first real chance - and what a chance it was.

After racing clean through past a lumbering Giorgio Chiellini, Giaccherini slid a cool finish past Buffon but the bounce on a ragged pitch took the ball against the post.

It seemed to matter not as the rebound landed at his feet, but - with the goal gaping from no more than a yard - Giaccherini somehow put the finish so far wide that Jimenez was able to keep the ball in on the right wing.

Poor Giaccherini was almost in tears afterwards, consoled by his supporters after landing in the advertising hoardings as Jimenez was booked for diving over Chiellini’s challenge.

The madness continued down the other end, although this time Matri was able to improvise a looping header into the back of the net after Del Piero of all people mis-hit a straightforward finish off the crossbar when it seemed easier to score.

With Juve 2-0 up Cesena seemed down and out, but a bizarre incident followed which saw both sides handed a lifeline.

As Parolo ran clean through, Buffon should have been shown a straight red card when he took the Cesena midfielder out after he had rounded the keeper to leave the goal at his mercy.

But, perhaps with the covering Armand Traore in mind, the referee only booked the Italy legend, to fierce protests from players and fans - Jimenez’s successful penalty was delayed by arguments on the pitch and a flare thrown from off it.

Juve went down to 10 men soon afterwards though, when Motta was shown a second yellow card after a face-high tackle on Giaccherini.

This made for a second half that was utterly dominated by Cesena, who threw a third forward on in Frenchman Dominque Malonga as they hunted a leveller.

It seemed that Buffon would foil them though - he made superb saves from Giuseppe Colucci, Jimenez and Malonga as he more than atoned for the error which handed Milan a 1-0 win a week previously

Giaccherini had a penalty appeal waved away when he tumbled under Chiellini’s challenge, while Leonardo Bonucci made a heroic block on Erjon Bogdani for the rebound.

Eventually the pressure told as former Torino winger Rosina, who showed impressive touch and vision in his cameo appearance, swung a wicked free-kick over from the left that Traore could only prod into the path of Parolo, who showed calm and poise to slide a low finish inside the right-hand post.

Cesena sniffed a winner but failed to test Buffon in the latter stages, with Juve close to a smash-and-grab victory when Alberto Aquilani sent a volley just over and - in injury time - sub Vincenzo Iaquinta headed straight at veteran keeper Francesco Antonioli.

While the pressure is still on Juve boss Luigi Del Neri he can at least be buoyed by the snapping of a three-game, goalless losing streak: a defeat tonight would have been the Old Lady’s worst run in Serie A.

Follow live text commentary on these games this weekend: Milan v Bari (Sun); Roma v Lazio (Sun); Parma v Napoli (Sun)

Reda Maher / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account