Juventus in shock defeat at SPAL

April 13, 2019
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Juventus were denied the chance of winning Serie A for a record eighth time in a row on Saturday, following a shock 2-1 defeat at relegation-threatened SPAL.

Kevin Bonifazi and Sergio Floccari struck as SPAL completed a most unlikely turnaround to claim three points in their battle to avoid the drop, making Juventus wait a while longer to be confirmed champions again.

Juve only needed a point to be certain of winning the league and Massimiliano Allegri made a whole host of changes resting Cristiano Ronaldo, Federico Bernardeschi, Mario Mandzukic, Alex Sandro, Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Ajax.

But his selection gamble backfired after Moise Kean’s 29th minute strike spurred SPAL into life.

Kean found the back of the net for the fourth Serie A match in a row and a sixth in succession for club and country but his effort came against the run of play following a lively start from the home side.

And SPAL equalised on 49 minutes with defender Bonifazi heading in from a corner before Floccari completed the comeback 16 minutes from time when he swept home from 12 yards.

SPAL faced a nervous wait while the Video Assistant Referee investigated a potential handball by Alessandro Murgia in the build -up before the goal was given.

Allegri responded by bringing on Bernardeschi from the substitutes’ bench but Juventus were left to rue a missed opportunity to wrap the title up early.

The only consolation for the reigning champions is that they will win Serie A again if Napoli fail to beat Chievo on Sunday.

SPAL, meanwhile, moved up to 13th in the table with the three points — seven clear of the bottom three.

“We had a lot of young players and they did well, but above all the second goal showed a lack of experience,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia after the game.

“Kean was feeling a little tired, so I preferred to take him off. When he starts moving wide and doesn’t attack the goal as much, it means it’s time to get him off the field.

“He has different characteristics to [Mario] Mandzukic, but obviously having him in this shape is important and I’ll evaluate what to do on Tuesday.” (ESPN)

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