Juventus held but stretch unbeaten Serie A run to 44 games

Serie A, Stadio Artemio Franchi - Fiorentina 0-0 Juventus

Juventus held but stretch unbeaten Serie A run to 44 games

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Juventus' Andrea Pirlon (L) controls the ball during the Serie A football match between Fiorentina and Juventus at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence on September 25, 2012 (AFP)

Juventus failed to win for the first time in five games in the Serie A this season but stretched their unbeaten run in the league to 44 games as Fiorentina had the better of things at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Stevan Jovetic, the league’s leading scorer, came close to breaking the deadlock before half time but his header cannoned back off the crossbar and Adem Ljajic also missed the target when clean through. Facundo Roncaglia and Juan Cuadrado also went close for the home side while Andrea Pirlo went closest for the visitors before the game ended in an entertaining stalemate.

Far from being intimidated by Juve’s intimidating Serie A record and roared on by the raucous home support, Fiorentina started well and had an early shout for a penalty waved away when Ljajic tumbled over in the box from a challenge from Stephan Lichtsteiner.

The home side continued to press and the lively Giovinco shot just wide of Gianluigi Buffon’s left hand post as the Juve defence backed off him. Manuel Pasqual drove an effort over the bar from David Pizzaro’s corner before Fiorentina had an even closer shout for a penalty turned down as Pasqual went down from a tackle from behind from Arturo Vidal. It looked a clear penalty to the naked eye but referee Tagliavento was well placed and replays confirmed it was indeed an excellent decision.

Juve’s chances were few but Pirlo very nearly broke the deadlock after he won a free kick from a cynical challenge from Pizzaro and nearly made La Viola pay as his dead ball effort flashed just wide.

But Fiorentina finished the half strongly and had two excellent chances within a minute. Pizzaro did well to whip in a free kick onto the head of the prolific Jovetic, whose effort struck the woodwork. And moments later, Ljajic spurned the chance of the half when played in behind the Juve defence from Cuadrado’s long ball. But with only Buffon to beat, he slid it wide of the far post.

Fiorentina started the second half in a similarly attacking vein and a right-footed drive from Roncaglia had a sprawling Buffon worried before a Jovetic header flashed over the bar from Pasqual’s cross.

Buffon was again on alert when Cuadrado produced an almost identical effort to Roncaglia but for the second time it went just wide of the keeper’s right hand post.

Still the home side pressed forward; on came Matias for Ljajic and there was time for one more fabulous opportunity as a diving Pasqual sent his header wide of Buffon’s far post from Cuadrado’s cross. But not even the late return of the talismanic Luca Toni off the bench could breach the Juve defence and La Viola have still to record a win against their bitter rivals since Gabriel Batistuta scored the winner way back in 1998.

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