Paulo Dybala struck a late penalty to save Juventus’s blushes in a 1-1 draw with Chievo, although they remain six points behind title rivals Roma ahead of their UEFA Champions League opener against Manchester City. Juventus, last season’s beaten Champions League finalists, meet City in Group D on Tuesday and on this showing Manuel Pellegrini’s men will fancy their chances of taking three points off the Italian champions.
Having already suffered their worst ever start to a Serie A season following defeats to Udinese and Roma, Juventus welcomed Chievo to Turin determined to take all three points, albeit with one eye on Tuesday’s fixture. Coach Massimiliano Allegri left Juan Cuadrado, Mario Mandzukic and Paul Pogba on the bench and handed full debuts to former Inter Milan midfielder Hernanes as well as Brazilian defender Alex Sandro.
The rested trio’s presence, however, was eventually required as Juve fought back after conceding a fifth-minute opener when Perparim Hetemaj fired low past Gianluigi Buffon from outside the area. Juan Cuadrado replaced Stefano Sturaro on 67 minutes, and the on-loan Chelsea forward made an immediate impact, collecting Alvaro Morata’s flick-on to dribble his way into the box only to be shut out at the last second.
Cuadrado’s most impressive feat, however, was winning a late penalty after what appeared to be the slightest of contact with the boot of Cesar. Dybala made no mistake, smashing the ball past the goalkeeper and into the roof of the net to seal Juve’s first point of the season.
Juventus sit in 16th place while Chievo regained top spot, ahead of Roma on goal difference. Earlier, Roma prepared for Wednesday’s Group E clash against defending European champions Barcelona with a hard-fought 2-0 win away at Frosinone.
Iago Falque scored the opener for the Giallorossi, who rolled with the punches proffered by the league new boys before Juan Iturbe put the match beyond reach at the death with a fine individual strike. Fiorentina also beat Genoa 1-0 courtesy of Khouma Babacar’s strike on the hour mark.