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Juventus 1 Chievo 1: Dybala penalty spares stumbling champions

Champions Juventus finally got on the board in Serie A this season but once again failed to convince in a 1-1 draw against surprise high-flyers Chievo.

Paulo Dybala netted an 84th-minute penalty to cancel out Perparim Hetemaj’s early opener but Massimiliano Allegri’s team could have been further behind at that stage.

Gianluigi Buffon kept out Bostjan Cesar early in the second half with a remarkable reaction save and the Chievo defender had another effort ruled out when he was adjudged to have fouled Leonardo Bonucci.

Allegri, who oversaw defeats to Udinese and Roma in the opening two games of the season, left star midfielder Paul Pogba on the bench with an eye on Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League trip to Manchester City.

The France international produced an energetic second-half performance but it looked to be in vain before the unfortunate Cesar brought down fellow sub Juan Cuadrado.

Chievo return to the top of Serie A, while Juve remain in unfamiliarly lowly company.

Flushed with confidence from their emphatic 4-0 win over Lazio last time out, Chievo began with plenty of ambition and were quickly rewarded.

Valter Birsa’s cross from the left struck Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli and fell invitingly for Hetemaj, who rifled an unerring shot across Buffon and into the bottom right corner from 22 yards – his first goal for the club he joined from Brescia in 2011.

It provided an early jolt for Juventus debutants Alex Sandro and Hernanes, who combined for the latter to draw a fine save from Albano Bizzarri with a long-range effort.

Roberto Pereyra sent a low curling effort past the far post that  Bonucci narrowly failed to make contact with and the Argentina winger snatched badly at a 13th-minute chance when Hetemaj botched a clearance.

Juventus forward Dybala blazed an acrobatic attempt over in the 20th minute before a horrible touch from Bonucci almost let Riccardo Meggiorini in to double Chievo’s advantage.

Pereyra crossed for Stefano Sturaro to head over in the 31st minute and Juventus were unable to redeem a ragged first-half display.

Allegri had seen enough to send Pogba on in place of the Claudio Marchisio for the second period but the hosts were soon indebted to a truly astonishing piece of goalkeeping from Buffon.

Cesar swivelled to volley goalwards from eight yards after Juventus failed to deal with a 52nd-minute set-piece, catching the shot sweetly only to see the veteran Italy star thrust out his right hand and push the ball to safety.

Five minutes later Chievo enjoyed a miraculous escape of their own, with Pereyra striking the base of the post before Nicolas Frey magnificently blocked Pogba’s follow up.

Pogba had penalty claims rejected when substitute Dario Dainelli grasped a handful of his shirt before Cesar was questionably penalised for a similar infringement

The Chievo man converted a 62nd-minute corner but fell foul of the officials despite himself and Bonucci grasping one another’s jerseys.

Frey made another timely intervention as Juventus sub Cuadrado burst towards goal before Hernanes met his match in Bizzarri twice more.

The visitors’ brave resistance was finally broken when Cesar brought down Cuadrado with minimal contact and Dybala smashed home emphatically to barely spare the champions blushes.

Sat 12 Sep, 2015
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