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MENAFN - Arab News - 10/02/2014
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(MENAFN -Arab News) MILAN: Verona forward Juan Gomez came off the bench to level late and secure a 2-2 draw at home to Juventus as the champions spurned the chance to extend their lead on misfiring Roma on Sunday.Roma were away to Lazio in the city derby only four days after a 3-2 win over Napoli in the first leg of the Italian Cup semifinal.But despite shading what was a rough and tumble encounter at the Olympic Stadium, Rudi Garcia’s men failed to grab the win that would have reduced their deficit on the Bianconeri to seven points with a game in hand.Draws for both title challengers mean Juventus retained their nine-point lead over the Giallorossi, with Napoli, who outclassed AC Milan on Saturday, are now only four points off second place in third.Juventus looked to be on their way to an easy win in the north east when Carlos Tevez broke the deadlock after just four minutes.The Argentinian reacted quickly to tap home a rebound after ‘keeper Rafael dived to push out Kwadwo Asamoah’s cross.Tevez struck his second to give the Old Lady a 2-0 lead before the half hour, but if there was just a hint of offside from his first goal — Fernando Llorente appearing out of position — there was even more suspicion on his second.Tevez began his run on to Paul Pogba’s through ball on the left of the area just a little too quickly and swept the ball past Rafael on 21 minutes.If Verona felt aggrieved, they were even more so just after the half hour when claims for a penalty were waved off despite the ball clearly coming off the arms of defender Martin Caceres following a corner.The hosts earned some rough justice when striker Luca Toni headed home seven minutes after the restart to reduce arrears.Ironically, Toni and several other Verona players appeared to have breached Juve’s defense as Romulo whipped in a free kick that Toni headed past Gianluigi Buffon at the keeper’s near post Former Southampton striker Pablo Dani Osvaldo made his Juve debut when he replaced Llorente on 65 minutes and the Italy international made an immediate impact.Osvaldo missed scoring on his debut by inches when he swiped Andrea Pirlo’s through ball past Rafael only to see his effort come off the outside of the far post.At the other end Buffon produced a fine one-handed save to keep out Toni’s left-footed strike following a free kick into a crowded area.Juve then rode their luck when Verona had further claims for a penalty waved away after the ball came off the arm of Stephan Lichsteiner as the Swiss midfielder marked Toni at Buffon’s near post.Juve continued to threaten, however, and Arturo Vidal tested Rafael with an angled strike from the edge of the area, which the keeper did well to push over.Extra time had been added on because of delays when Vidal was fouled, and a brief lull in Juve’s concentration levels was all Verona required to take full advantage.The hosts won a free kick to the right of Juve’s area, it was quickly taken and Romulo whipped in a cross, which Gomez headed past Buffon after slipping between Angelo Ogbonna and Pogba.


 


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