Serie A - Juve held at Chievo

Sun, 16 Oct 15:06:00 2011

Juventus were denied the chance to pull clear at the top of Serie A in a frustrating goalless draw at Chievo.

Rigoni Marchisio Chievo Juventus AP/LA PRESSE - 0

Despite beginning each half brightly, the Turin giants were thwarted by a stubborn Gialloblu defence and chances were few and far between.

The introduction of Alessandro Del Piero in the second half increased the visitors’ shooting ratio, and the Juve legend saw a free header hit the post with seventeen minutes remaining in the closest chance of the game.

But the home side proved difficult to overwhelm, and they had one or two chances of their own before settling for their fourth consecutive draw against The Old Lady.

Eager to finish the weekend as the clear league leaders, Juventus flew out of the blocks and only good defending prevented Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic from testing Stefano Sorrentino in goal.

But Chievo, knowing an upset victory would put them level on points with the two joint leaders, created plenty of chances themselves and came close on the ten minute mark.

Perparim Heremaj won a free-kick 25 yards out after a foul by Arturo Vidal, captain Sergio Pellissier’s fierce low shot from the set piece was spilled by Gianluigi Buffon before the goalkeeper was able to recover at the second attempt.

Juve were fortunate not to go behind on the 20 minute mark when Andrea Pirlo was caught in possession by Cyril Thereau, allowing the French forward to stride into a one-on-one and slot coolly past Buffon.

However, the whistle had blown as Thereau was ruled to have fouled Pirlo, even though it appeared to be a fair challenge, and a yellow card for playing on added insult to injury.

Nonetheless, the home side recovered from this and the early loss of Gennaro Sardo to a hamstring strain to give a good account of themselves for the remainder of the half at both ends of the pitch.

That said, the majority of the actual efforts on goal throughout the game came the way of the away team, and six minutes into the second half Marchisio was inches away from finding the top corner from the edge of the box.

Del Piero, in his nineteenth season with the club, replaced Marchisio with twenty minutes left to play and the attack-minded switch almost reaped an instant pay-off.

In his third minute on the pitch, the all-time club record goalscorer rose unmarked to head Simone Pepe’s cross against the near upright.

Juve kept the pressure on when Vidal’s shot had to be parried by Sorrentino moments later, but while they were left frustrated by the fact they were unable to get their noses in front, they could also have found themselves behind late on.

A Michael Bradley corner, after several delays, was sent perfectly into the danger zone at the far post where Pellissier was unable to get the sort of finishing touch he wanted, allowing Del Piero of all people to clear on the goal line.

A bombardment of late bookings came in an ugly finish as Chievo held on to go sixth, while Juventus remain top on goal difference with Udinese also head at Atalanta.

Liam Happe / Eurosport

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