Soccer

Verona comes back from two goals down to draw Juventus

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The Canadian Press
2/9/2014 12:50:12 PM
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Juventus squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at promoted Hellas Verona on Sunday and miss the chance to extend its Serie A lead to 11 points.

A last-minute leveler ensured the two-time defending champion remained nine points ahead of Roma, which drew 0-0 at bitter rival Lazio in the capital derby.

Roma has a match in hand on Juventus after last week's game against Parma was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

"It's not good enough to dominate for 45 minutes, seeing as the slightest lack of concentration can make everything in vain," Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. "We let them back into the game... it was unacceptable. A lost chance.

"We're conceding a lot from deadball situations, we need to focus more. It's useless to study our opponents' tactics and then make mistakes like this."

Carlos Tevez scored twice in the first half for Juventus to take his tally to 13 for the season.

But Luca Toni reinforced his bid for a World Cup spot when he reduced the deficit with his 11th goal in 20 matches and substitute Juanito Gomez Taleb, who only came on in the 86th minute, levelled deep in stoppage time.

Verona is level on points with fifth-placed Inter Milan which beat Sassuolo 1-0 in the evening match.

"We drew against a great team and we are very happy with this point," Gomez said. "Safety remains our aim though, not qualifying for Europe. We're doing well."

Gomez, who said the team had been inspired by a halftime pep talk from Verona coach Andrea Mandorlini, added: "He is a man who never gives up. He hugged me because he told me I would score."

Earlier, Bologna inched away from the relegation zone following a surprise 2-1 win at high-flying Torino.

Elsewhere, it was: Sampdoria 1, Cagliari 0; Parma 0, Catania 0; and Livorno 0, Genoa 1.

Juventus got off to the perfect start when Rafael could only parry Kwadwo Asamoah's strike and Tevez slotted home the rebound for a fourth-minute lead.

Tevez -- who celebrated his 30th birthday on Wednesday -- doubled his tally in the 21st minute when he beat the offside trap to fire in Paul Pogba's through ball.

Verona reduced the deficit seven minutes after halftime when former Juventus striker Toni headed in Romulo's free-kick. There were suspicions of offside, as there had been for Tevez's second.

Pablo Osvaldo made his Juventus debut following his loan move from Southampton and almost scored a minute after coming off the bench but his effort clipped the outside of the left post.

The Italy striker did have the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out as Asamoah had been offside when providing the assist.

Verona almost levelled in the 79th minute as Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon pulled off a stunning fingertip save to keep out a Toni header.

However, Gomez Taleb headed in Romulo's cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Verona snatched a deserved draw.

The equalizer prevented Juventus from extending its lead at the top of the table to 11 points and keeps the title race alive.

Roma had the best of the chances as Lazio could not manage even one shot on target the whole match.

Gervinho thought he had scored his third goal of the week midway through the first half, but it was ruled out for offside.

Lazio club captain Stefano Mauri came on in the second half for his first appearance this season following a ban for his role in the match-fixing scandal.

In Milan, Sassuolo goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo kept his side in the game with a series of fine saves, notably denying Diego Milito twice from point-blank range at the end of the first half.

Inter defender Walter Samuel headed in a corner three minutes after the interval.

Last time the two sides met, at the beginning of the season, Inter humiliated Sassuolo 7-0.

At the other end of the table, Bologna moved four points above the relegation zone with its first win at Torino since Dec. 1980.

Torino, which is pushing for a Europa League place, took the lead in the fifth minute when Ciro Immobile was left unmarked to head home Matteo Darmian's cross for his seventh goal in as many matches.

However, a brace from Jonathan Cristaldo handed Bologna its second win in 13 matches.

Livorno is level on 17 points with Sassuolo, with bottom club Catania a point further back after hitting the woodwork twice in its draw at Parma.

Luca Toni (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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