Juventus beaten at home by Udinese to leave Inter clear in Scudetto race

<span>Lautaro Giannetti (centre left) celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winner for Udinese.</span><span>Photograph: Massimo Pinca/Reuters</span>
Lautaro Giannetti (centre left) celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winner for Udinese.Photograph: Massimo Pinca/Reuters

Juventus slumped to a 1-0 home defeat against Udinese on Monday, with fans booing the hosts off the field after a loss that leaves their title hopes in tatters.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side followed up last week’s 1-0 defeat by league leaders Internazionale last week with an even more painful loss. It leaves Inter seven points clear at the top with a game in hand after their 4-2 win at Roma on Sunday evening.

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Lautaro Giannetti’s first-half goal proved enough for the struggling visitors to move three points clear of the bottom three. The Juventus forward Arkadiusz Milik had a goal disallowed and missed a number of gilt-edged chances to equalise on a frustrating night for Allegri.

Milik was available again after suspension and started the match in place of the in-form forward Dusan Vlahovic, who was ruled out with a muscle problem. Juventus started the game brightly but fell behind in the 25th minute as centre-back Giannetti scored his first Serie A goal, in his second appearance for Udinese.

Thomas Kristensen nodded on Lazar Samardzic’s free-kick and Alex Sandro’s attempted clearance was straight at Giannetti, who fired it in from close range. The 30-year-old joined the Friuli in January from Vélez Sarsfield, where he had spent his entire career – scoring just three goals in 200 club games in Argentina.

Milik could have levelled almost immediately but he mis-hit a cross and sent it woefully wide of the target from point-blank range. The Poland forward then headed another cross straight at the Udinese goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye, shortly before half-time. Juve left the field to jeers at the break, and things did not improve much.

The hosts did get the ball in the back of the net in the 58th minute, Milik finishing after Adrien Rabiot nodded on a corner – but the goal was ruled out as Federico Chiesa’s delivery had crossed the byline. Udinese set up a low block to defend their lead and it proved successful, with Juve finding no way past Okoye.

After his team lost to Inter at San Siro, Allegri had been eager to emphasise that the realistic target for his team was to secure a top-four finish, and it was a theme the Juventus manager returned to after this defeat. “Our team was built with many players without the experience to win the championship, but we must come out of this situation stronger,” Allegri told Sky.

“[We have] one point in three games, we’re disappointed, but we have to remain calm because we still have an important goal to achieve which is [qualifying for] the Champions League. At this moment being nervous or thinking about regrets is of no use. We must think to work”.

Athletic held by winless Almería

Athletic Bilbao’s Champions League qualification hopes took a painful hit as the Basque club could only draw 0-0 at Almería, despite the bottom club playing with 10 men for most of the second half.

Victory would have taken Athletic above Atlético Madrid into fourth place but Ernesto Valverde’s team struggled against a defensive home side in the absence of top scorer Gorka Guruzeta and the in-form winger Nico Williams.

Almería have not won a league match all season but held on for just their seventh point of the campaign despite the dismissal of winger Largie Ramazani in the 53rd minute for picking up two yellow cards. Raul García came closest to breaking the deadlock, hitting the post for the visitors from Ander Herrera’s cross.

“We feel it’s not enough because we had the ball for so much of the game,” said Athletic’s Óscar de Marcos after a result that did little for either side’s ambitions. “It’s frustrating not to have more clear chances when the game was in our favour.”