Juventus stopped by the post

Juventus went back on the pitch three weeks after the home debut against Livorno and two after the Cagliari victory. The League leaders were sunk by Udinese at the Olimpico, just seven days before the first match against another title favourite, next Sunday's game in Rome against the Giallorossi.

But there was no time to think about the game in the capital. First of all Juventus had Udinese to face and Ranieri played practically the same line-up as the first two victorious matches. In front of Buffon, Birindelli was back on the right after recovering from injury: alongside him in defence, Andrade, Criscito and Chiellini. Camoranesi started for the first time, playing with Zanetti, Almiron and Nedved in midfield. Del Piero and Trezeguet were the strikers. Vincenzo Iaquinta, who arrived from Udinese in the summer, stayed on the bench.

None of the players who used to play for Juventus started for the guests: Chimenti was replaced by Handanovic, while Boudinaski and Paolucci weren't even on the bench. Marino changed his formation slightly from the first two games, but he played the same three up front again: Quagliarella, Asamoah and Di Natale.

The match was balanced at the start and in the first 20 minutes the two teams were equal to each other, creating the same number of chances with several corner kicks each. Keepers Buffon and Handanovic were busy dealing mostly with crosses. Juventus were lively with Trezeguet and Del Piero, who hit the post but the ref had already stopped play. The guests responded with a few Di Natale runs on the left wing and with an Asamoah shot which went high over the bar.

23rd minute: Ranieri's team had two chances within seconds of each other. First a Chiellini left-footer was saved by Handanovic and then Nedved made a long pass towards Del Piero, who was quicker than the keeper but missed. Juventus then also had to deal with a bout of bad luck. Camoranesi hurt humself and had to leave his place to Nocerino after just 30 minutes. Del Piero started to refine his aim and was dangerous from free kicks. First the captain hit the post with a perfect curling free kick, then he forced Handanovic to parry; Chiellini rushed on the rebound and was grounded, but his complaints to the ref only earned him a yellow card. The first half ended after three minutes' injury time with a 0-0 result that Juventus felt they didn't deserve.

Second half. The same 22 players that had ended the first half came back on the pitch, but the score changed immediately, Udinese making the most of their first chance. A nice touch for Dossena was followed by his immediate cross for unmarked Di Natale, who confirmed his magic moment after the two goals in Kiev with the National team. Juventus reacted and Del Piero and Trezeguet remained busy around Handanovic. After 11 minutes Ranieri played all his aces: Trezeguet and Zanetti came off, replaced by Iaquinta and Tiago. The fresh players revitalized the team but it was Nedved who created the best chance, doing everything well, but his shot was high.

Udinese were not just busy defending, they were always ready to go on the counter-attack, like when Asamoah went on a solo run after 62 minutes and hit the post. It would prove to be the last chance for the Ghana-born player, who was replaced by Floro Flores soon after. Del Piero tried from a free kick again but the ball went over the bar. Ranieri's team's midfielders tried to lend a hand up front, especially Nocerino. The young Naples-born player collided with Handanovic and went down inside the penalty area on 75 minutes but Farina signalled for the play to go on. The referee however awarded an indirect free kick to Juventus a few minutes later: the shot hit the wall. Marino then took off Di Natale – who’d almost scored the second goal – and Dossena, replacing them with Pepe and Lukovic. Juventus understood that it just wasn't their day when a Iaquinta header was disallowed and, most of all, when Del Piero hit the woodwork again (the crossbar this time) from another free kick. The final result was 1-0 and Di Natale's goal proved to be the winner. This is Juventus' first seasonal defeat, and comes right before the away fixture at Roma, scheduled to be played in seven days’ time.


GOALS: Di Natale 47 mins.

JUVENTUS: Buffon; Birindelli, Andrade, Criscito, Chiellini; Camoranesi (Nocerino 30 mins), Zanetti (Tiago 56 mins), Almiron, Nedved; Del Piero, Trezeguet (Iaquinta 56 mins).
Subs not used: Belardi, Legrottaglie, Molinaro, Palladino.
Manager: Ranieri.

UDINESE: Handanovic; Zapatocny, Zapata, Coda; Mesto, Ilner, D’Agostino, Dossena (Lukovic 86 mins); Quagliarella, Asamoah (Floro Flores 64 mins), Di Natale (Pepe 86 mins).
Subs not used: Chimenti, Ferronetti, Sivok, Emerenko, Floro Flores.
Manager: Marino.

REFEREE: Farina from Novi Ligure.

YELLOW CARDS: Chiellini 35 mins, D’Agostino 82 mins.

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