Leaders Juve stunned by rally of fierce newcomers Verona

Rome, Dynamic underdogs Verona came from behind to beat Serie A leaders Juventus 2-1 Saturday, which gives Inter Milan a chance to go first on goal difference if the beat AC Milan in a city derby a day later.

Juve stayed rooted on 54 points, with the Nerazzurri on 51 and Lazio on 50 before Sunday’s visit at Parma. Verona, now on an unbeaten run of eight games, are sixth in the Europa League zone with 34 points, Deutshce press agency (dpa) reported.

Juve’s Douglas Costa shook the bar in the first half and Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post, then opening for the champions after the break, getting the better of Amir Rrahmani to find the far corner; Ronaldo is now on a 10-game scoring run in the league, with a tally of 20 goals.

Fabio Borini levelled in similar fashion as Juve playmaker Miralem Pjanic involuntarily set him up for a clinical drive into the far corner and substitute Giampaolo Pazzini on 86 converted a penalty awarded after video review for Leonardo Bonucci’s handball.

We knew we had to struggle at the start, but then we took the lead, Juve coach Maurizio Sarri said. Of course, we should not concede by making such superficial mistakes. We must get rid of them at all costs.

Verona veteran Pazzini said he is enjoying the great moment of the squad.

The town and the team deserved this win after the good draws [1-1] with AC Milan and [0-0] with Lazio, he said.

Visiting Atalanta rallied to beat Fiorentina 2-1 earlier Saturday and strengthen their hold on fourth place.

Atalanta occupy the last available place for next term’s Champions League. They are to meet Valencia in the last 16 later this month in their first participation in the event.

A Federico Chiesa drive put La Viola ahead in a first half dominated by the Bergamo visitors, who levelled after the break when Duvan Zapata turned in an Alejandro Gomez cross and clinched victory when substitute Ruslan Malinovskyi fired in from outside the box.

Fifth-placed Roma lost 3-2 at home to Bologna on Friday and sit three points behind Atalanta. Bologna moved to seventh; Fiorentina sit 14th.

These were three very important points for the standings. It was a good day, Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini said. Now we play Roma [next Saturday] and then Valencia. It is a very hard season. Last year we battled for every point until the end [to finish third] and I think it will happen again.

Sampdoria also bounced back on away turf to stun troubled Torino 3-1 with a brace from Gaston Ramirez and a spotkick by Fabio Quagliarella.

Torino played under new coach Moreno Longo and found a second-half lead from Simone Verdi’s deflection, but saw Ramirez curl in a free-kick and fire home the second.

Armando Izzo was red-carded for a last-man foul on Quagliarella, who converted against his ex team in the 79th.

Il Toro have lost the past four games, including a 7-0 thumping against Atalanta and a 4-0 defeat at Lecce. They sit 12th, while Samp, in 16th, moved seven points clear of the drop zone.

Six games, including the late Milanese derby, are played on Sunday to wrap up match day 23.

Source: Bahrain News Agency