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Juventus 1 Cagliari 1: Rossettini earns point for battling strugglers

Cagliari kept their hopes of Serie A survival alive with a late Luca Rossettini equaliser that clinched a 1-1 draw at Juventus.

The champions looked on course to claim their 25th league win of the season after Paul Pogba fired them ahead with a deflected effort, but Rossettini levelled five minutes from time to ensure the visitors a share of the points.

Juve showed their strength in depth as coach Massimiliano Allegri rested 10 players and still saw his side dominate proceedings at Juventus Stadium on Saturday.

But a spirited performance from Cagliari was rewarded and Gianluca Festa’s side, who are third bottom, live to fight another day. 

With the Scudetto already won, Allegri’s focus was firmly on next week’s UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg at Real Madrid, and only midfielder Claudio Marchisio was retained from the side that won the first leg 2-1 in midweek.

Pogba had been sidelined since March, when he injured a hamstring during the 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund, but he showed no signs of rustiness with a commanding performance and a goal that might put him in contention for Juve’s trip to the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Frenchman was influential from the outset, flashing a long-range free-kick just past the post in the opening exchanges.

Simone Pepe was at the heart of much of Juve’s early play, and he combined with Pogba to tee up Alessandro Matri after 13 minutes, but the striker lost his footing and could not convert from close range.

Duje Cop looked Cagliari’s most potent threat, with his fast, breaking runs towards the Juventus box, but goalkeeper Marco Storari was alive to the danger and denied the Croatian a good chance after he was put through by Albin Ekdal.

Pogba missed a great chance to open the scoring, controlling a cross with his chest and blazing his shot over the bar when he had time to pick his spot.

But, in the final seconds of the first half, Pogba announced his return to first-team action in style, making space for himself in the box and rattling a fierce shot that took a cruel deflection off Rossettini on its way past Zeljko Brkic and into the net.

But Cagliari continued to press after the break and did not allow Juventus an easy ride at any stage in the game.

Cop went close with a low shot just after half-time, and Ekdal had a penalty claim turned down as he clashed with Angelo Ogbonna when racing through on goal.

Cagliari pushed bodies forward to try and salvage something late on, and their efforts paid off when a defensive lapse allowed Rossettini to power a header that beat Storari, hit the far post, and then bounced back out for the defender to gratefully poke it back into the net.

Festa’s men almost claimed all three points when Marco Sau found himself unmarked on the edge of the box, but he blazed his shot high and wide and the points were shared.

Sat 9 May, 2015
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