Serie A - Wasteful Juve lose ground on Milan

Sun, 11 Mar 15:52:00 2012

Juventus squandered a number of chances as they dropped four points behind AC Milan after a 0-0 draw with Genoa in Serie A at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

2012 Genoa-Juventus De Ceglie Palacios - 0

Genoa welcomed striker Alberto Gilardino back from injury, but were missing Cesare Bovo, Andreas Granqvist and Luca Antonelli.

Midfielder Arturo Vidal played at centre-back for Juventus, with Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli injured, and Leonardo Bonucci suspended. Mirko Vicinic continued in attack and was joined by Alessandro Matri and Simone Pepe.

Juventus have lacked that killer touch in front of goal this season and those familiar failings were in evidence again.

But it was Genoa who threatened first as Gianluigi Buffon produced a fabulous save to deny Rodrigo Palacio in the first minute of the game. Gilardino played the ball over the top to his strike partner and the Argentine's attempted lob was clawed away by the Italy stopper.

Moments later Pepe played a wonderful ball across the area to Claudio Marchisio but the midfielder put a presentable chance wide of the near post as the game started in frantic fashion.

Sebastien Frey made a good low block to keep out a well struck shot from the impressive Pepe.

Vucinic was also causing problems on the left and Marchisio collected his well weighted ball into the area and saw a shot blocked by Frey.

The visitors were well on top but Gilardino missed a golden chance to put Genoa ahead in the 26th minute when he headed over a Davide Biondini cross when well-placed in the area.

Juve's struggles in front of goal this season showed few signs of abating as Alessandro Matri got on the end of a clever through ball from Vucinic only to see his shot blocked by Marco Rossi.

Juve picked up where they left off after the break, with Vucinic heading a Pirlo corner against the bar.

A speculative shot from Pirlo was tipped over by Frey and Vucinic headed a glorious cross from Pepe inches wide as Genoa rode their luck.

Pepe passed up the best opportunity of the match on the hour as he got on the end of a Pirlo free-kick but somehow contrived to hit the post from close-range when it looked easier to score.

In a rare Genoa opening, Kakha Kaladze found himself unmarked at the back post and made good contact on his volley, with Buffon showing excellent reflexes to beat the ball away.

Frey tipped over a long-range shot from Marchisio and Pepe looked to have a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside after getting on the end of a Vucinic cross.

Juraj Kucka unleashed a fierce free-kick with Buffon forced into a spectacular diving save as Genoa threatened an unlikely victory.

Milan took full advantage with a 2-0 win at home to Lecce which took them four points clear of second-placed Juve, who remained unbeaten after 27 games.

Antonio Nocerino and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in each half for the defending champions and Champions League quarter-finalists who have 57 points. Ibrahimovic's goal made him top scorer with 19 this season.

Stewart Coggin / Eurosport

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