MILAN (AFP) – Serie A strugglers Cesena kept the Italian title race ticking over after holding Juventus to a 2-2 draw on Sunday that left the champions seven points clear of title challengers Roma.
Juventus had the chance to go nine points clear of the Giallorossi after their latest slip-up, a scoreless draw at home to basement side Parma — their fifth draw in six consecutive games.
But at the Dino Manuzzi stadium, which features an artificial surface, Massimiliano Allegri’s expensively-assembled side missed a late penalty and ultimately struggled against a Cesena side which has been fighting to get out of the relegation zone all season.
Roma remain in second place seven points adrift with a five-point lead on Napoli after their shock 3-1 loss at Palermo on Saturday.
Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri told Mediaset: “We gave them far too much space and too many counter-attacks. It was a hard game, but I knew it would be.
Fifth-placed Lazio, who won 1-0 at Udinese, had been shocked 2-1 at Cesena two weeks ago, and Buffon was under pressure from the early stages when Gregoire Defrel forced him to block his angled drive at the near post.
Cesena saw clear chances by Defrel and Ze Eduardo go amiss, while Fernando Llorente — partnering Alvaro Morata up front in the absence of suspended Carlos Tevez — saw a header go over.
The hosts’ efforts finally paid off when a misplaced Andrea Pirlo pass in midfield sparked a counter which saw Defrel cross for Milan Djuric to sidefoot under Buffon on 17 minutes.
Juve were back on level terms on the half hour after Morata got his head to Pogba’s cross to beat Nicola Leali, and took the lead five minutes later when Claudio Marchisio pounced on a Llorente dummy to fire home from close range.