Misfiring AS Roma draw again to boost Juventus Serie A title bid
Misfiring Roma handed leaders Juventus the chance to stretch their Serie A lead to 11 points after being held to their eighth draw in nine consecutive games on Sunday.
Rome: Misfiring Roma handed leaders Juventus the chance to stretch their Serie A lead to 11 points after being held to their eighth draw in nine consecutive games on Sunday.
Roma travelled to Chievo hoping to end their sorry run of results that has put champions Juventus, who host Sassuolo on Monday, within sight of a likely fourth consecutive scudetto.
But despite creating a host of chances at the Bentegodi stadium, Rudi Garcia`s men were repelled at every turn as Chievo, who are only six points clear of the drop zone, held on for a scoreless draw and a share of the points.
The result left Roma in second place, eighth points adrift of Juve with Napoli only five points adrift ahead of their home clash against Inter Milan later in the day.
On an afternoon of dour draws in Italy`s top flight -- Cesena v Palermo and Parma v Atalanta finished scoreless while Empoli were held at home by Genoa -- Udinese stuck out from the crowd thanks to a precious 3-2 home win over Torino.
Torino travelled to the Friuli stadium looking to benefit from the momentum that in recent weeks has seen the on-form `Granata` qualify for the last 16 of the Europa League.
Giampiero Ventura`s men opened the scoring on the quarter hour thanks to former Juve striker Fabio Quagliarella but the hosts hit back three times in succession to leave the visitors with a mountain to climb.
Udinese veteran Antonio Di Natale levelled Quagliarella`s strike only two minutes later and the hosts took the lead before the half-hour when Cristian Molinaro turned into his own net from a corner.
Udinese`s players mobbed Molla Wague four minutes after the restart when the Malian defender took their lead to 3-1 with a bullet header from Di Natale`s corner to claim his maiden goal in Serie A.
Torino earned a lifeline when second-half substitute Marco Benassi met a Udinese clearance from a corner with a drive which took a deflection before beating Orestis Karnezis in the Udinese net on 69 minutes.
The goal was only validated minutes later after the referee consulted with his fourth official following claims from Udinese`s players the goal was offside, but it was not enough to see Torino avoid conceding their first defeat since a 2-1 reverse to Juventus on November 30.
Elsewhere, visitors Genoa got off the mark at Empoli thanks to on-loan AC Milan striker M`Baye Niang`s well-taken individual effort which beat Luigi Sepe at the `keeper`s far post.
But Empoli levelled in bizarre style in the 66th minute when a corner curled in from the right caught Genoa `keeper Mattia Perin unawares on his goalline, with an alert Federico Barba guiding the rebound from Perin`s fumble over the line with his knee.
Napoli are unbeaten at home since a 3-1 reverse to Juventus on January 11 but Rafael Benitez`s men have suffered two defeats, away to both Palermo and Torino, in their past three games.
A win at the San Paolo for Inter, who sit ninth at 23 points behind Juventus, would see Roberto Mancini`s men move to within sight of the league`s three Champions League qualifying places.