Serie A - Juventus slump to opening loss

Eurosport - Sun, 29 Aug 18:56:00 2010

Juventus picked up where they left off last season with a 1-0 defeat at Bari in their Serie A opener for the campaign.

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A superb goal by Massimo Donati put Bari ahead before half-time and, while the hosts were the better side and deserved victory, Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini left the field with his head in his hands after missing a gilt-edged chance to equalise deep into injury time.

Juve finished seventh in, by their standards, a dreadful 2009-10 and were hoping to get the new season off to a good start after impressive displays in Europa League qualifying under new manager Luigi Delneri.

But they looked tired and unimaginative against Bari, who had more possession and showed more adventure in attack than the Bianconeri.

Bari set their stall out from kick off, as Barreto fired over in the second minute, although Juve responded well when Milos Krasic put in a good cross for fellow new signing Fabio Quagliarella, who was unable to finish.

The home side’s counter attacking caused Juve all kinds of problems, as Chiellini denied Edgar Alvarez at the near post and Storari did well to save at the feet of Abdelkader Ghezzal.

Down the other end Felipe Melo, who was anonymous for most of the game, saw a well-drilled finish deflected jyst wide, while Marco Motta was denied by Jean-Francois Gillet after a bounding run from right-back.

Within seconds Bari were ahead as, from the break that followed, Donati - who came on as an early sub for the injured Alessandro Gazzi - turned Claudio Marchisio on the edge of the box and smacked a superb left-foot effort in off the far post.

The former Milan, Atalanta and Celtic midfield started the second half in similar fashion, rifling a right-foot effort just wide, while Alvarez should have done better after the mighty Sergio Almiron put him through: his touch was poor and the chance was gone.

Brazilian Barreto nearly made it 2-0 just after the hour mark as Chiellini again saved Storari’s bacon as the Bari forward rounded the keeper and poked his finish towards the near post.

That chance seemed to spark Juve into life as Quagliarella - who joined on loan from Napoli following Diego’s sale to Wolfsburg - went close with a bicycle kick and a finish wide under pressure.

Delneri’s side pressed and pressed and should have levelled in the last minute when substitute Jorge Martinez flicked on a Del Piero free-kick only for Quagliarella - unmarked at the far post - to drill a cross-shot wide of the opposite upright.

And their coup de gras came from another set-piece when, four minutes into stoppage time, Del Piero’s quick delivery from the right caught the home defence napping but, with the goal at his mercy, Chiellini could only head over.

Reda Maher / Eurosport

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