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Leaders Juve stutter to Genoa draw

Updated: Oct 23, 2011, 09:14 AM IST

Rome: Juventus missed the chance to consolidate their lead at the top of Serie A as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Genoa.

The Old Lady of Turin, who were booed at the final whistle on Saturday, remain unbeaten after seven games but they have drawn four of those and four teams could realistically overtake them on Sunday.

Palermo could too but they would need to win by six goals away to Roma. Alessandro Matri twice gave the Turin giants the lead but Marco Rossi and then Andrea Caracciolo, five minutes from time, earned the visitors a valuable point.

The result will cast doubts over Juve`s title chances after they showed once again an inability to close out matches. They were off to a flying start, taking the lead after just six minutes.

Andrea Pirlo took a quick corner to Claudio Marchisio on the edge of the box and his shot was diverted in by Matri.

Matri came close again on 25 minutes as he wriggled free of three defenders in the box to fashion a chance from a tight angle but goalkeeper Sebastien Frey saved with his feet.

From the resulting corner Giorgio Chiellini sent a free header over when he should have done much better.

Genoa`s excellently-created equaliser came on 31 minutes as Bosko Jankovic took out two defenders with a slide rule pass down the left and Alexander Merkel had time to look up and pick out Rossi at the back post, who sent a downward header bouncing past goalkeeper Marco Storari.

A defensive mistake presented Mirko Vucinic with a shooting chance but Frey saved his drive before Simone Pepe let fly from distance but missed the target for the hosts.

The chances came thick and fast at the start of the second period with Frey reacting brilliantly to push behind a deflected shot from Matri. Up the other end Merkel curled a freekick just beyond the far post.

Juve went ahead with a another well-crafted goal as Pirlo created space for Matri by running over Vucinic`s pass, taking Dario Dainelli out of the centre and leaving his teammate space to slot home his second. But moments later Merkel, who was having a stunning game, hit the bar with another shot.

Juventus looked the more likely to score but five minutes from time Juraj Kucka rose above Chiellini to win a back-post header and Caracciolo got across Andrea Barzagli to poke home the ball from close range.

The referee signalled six minutes of injury time but it was Genoa who came closest to snatching a winner only for Storari to make a diving save to deny Miguel Veloso.

Earlier, Fiorentina coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was sent off and jeered by his own fans as his side were held to a 2-2 draw by his former club Catania. It was La Viola`s fourth match in a row without victory and kept them a point behind their visitors in an increasingly congested Serie A table.

"Everyone knows that Florence is a demanding place but had we won we would have been a point off top," he said Mihajlovic .

"There`s still a long way to go in the league and the criticisms are both unfair and excessive. We`re calm and we`re trying to do our jobs."

Montenegro playmaker Stevan Jovetic twice gave the hosts the lead, the second time with a peach of a curler beyond goalkeeper Mariano Andujar from 20 yards.

Gennaro Delvecchio equalised the first time at the end of the first half and Gaston Maxi Lopez was awarded the second leveller seven minutes from time.

There was a debate as to who had scored the final goal as Manuel Pasqual hacked Pablo Barrientos`s effort clear before Maxi Lopez netted on the follow-up, although television replays suggested the first shot had crossed the line.

Serbian Mihajlovic was then dismissed for venting his fury at the referee.