Talking points from the weekend's Serie A matches

Alasdair Mackenzie
·3-min read

By Alasdair Mackenzie

ROME (Reuters) - Talking points from the weekend's Serie A matches.

JUVE FOCUS ON TOP FOUR

It was another day to forget for Juventus on Saturday as the champions needed a late Cristiano Ronaldo equaliser to rescue a 2-2 draw against relegation-threatened neighbours Torino.

The result followed a shock 1-0 defeat by lowly Benevento, heaping pressure on coach Andrea Pirlo with his side 12 points behind league leaders Inter Milan.

Captain Giorgio Chiellini admitted that clinching a 10th consecutive Scudetto is no longer the main objective, as Juve now risk dropping out of the top four and failing to qualify for the Champions League.

Pirlo’s side face Napoli on Wednesday in a rearranged fixture, and defeat would leave them behind the visitors in fifth place.

"We’re making too many errors this year and we’re paying for them," Chiellini told DAZN.

"We must stay united and talk as little as possible. Let’s avoid proclamations and work day after day, knowing that on Wednesday we have a very important match.

"We must go forward trying to do our best to achieve an important objective for us, Champions League qualification.”

CONTE CALMS TITLE EXCITEMENT

Inter were the biggest winners of the weekend, as their 1-0 victory at Bologna left them eight points clear of second-placed AC Milan with a game in hand, after Stefano Pioli’s side drew 1-1 with Sampdoria.

But Inter coach Antonio Conte would not be drawn into title excitement despite his team’s enormous advantage, which puts them on the brink of their first Serie A triumph since 2010.

"There are still 10 games to play, nine for some other teams. The road is long and there are still 27-30 points to assign," Conte told Sky Italia.

"We know very well that the Italian league is difficult, you need to win every game. As the games count down, it’s inevitable that we will start to look ahead. But it’s up to us to earn first place, we haven’t achieved anything yet."

FONSECA HOPEFUL, ITALIANO REGRETFUL

AS Roma’s Champions League hopes were dealt a major blow as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Sassuolo on a day that top four rivals Atalanta, Napoli and Lazio won.

Paulo Fonseca’s side have picked up one point from their last three league matches to become outsiders in the fiercely competitive top-four race.

"We will continue to fight to reach our objective," Fonseca told Sky Italia.

The Giallorossi dropped to seventh, one point behind Lazio and five adrift of Napoli and Juve, but all three of those teams have a game in hand.

Lazio beat Spezia 2-1 thanks to a late Felipe Caicedo penalty, after a spectacular scissor kick from substitute Daniele Verde pulled the visitors level.

"For every coach, seeing a player come on and be decisive is an immense joy," said Spezia manager Vincenzo Italiano.

"But it increases our regret, because if we had drawn, our journey home would have been a party."

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Ed Osmond)