Unpaid, bankrupt Parma stun high-flying Juve
Days before hosting Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri rested a number of regulars for the trip to a packed out Enrico Tardini stadium.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, striker Carlos Tevez and defender Andrea Barzagli were all left on the bench ahead of Tuesday’s last eight clash in Turin, although it was a decision Allegri could go on to regret.
As well as not being paid all season and being put into administration last month after being declared bankrupt, Parma had also only taken two points from their last seven league outings against the Turin giants.
But Roberto Donadoni’s men were impervious to their recent setbacks, and historical statistics, as they set about defying the defending champions in a bid to show their relegation fight is far from over.
Juventus spurned several half chances in a balanced opening half, with Claudio Marchisio’s effort blocked yards from goal in the opening exchanges while Ishak Belfodil curled a left-footed effort that went just wide of Marco Storari’s upright.
Parma ‘keeper Antonio Mirante then reacted quickly to keep out Arturo Vidal’s header at the back post with his foot after the Chilean got on the end of Marchisio’s free kick.
Allegri had partnered Fernando Llorente with Kingsley Coman up front and the Frenchman was denied by Mirante from a tight angle after being sent through on the left.
Coman came close again shortly after the restart when he fired a rocket just over Mirante’s bar, but Juve were soon trailing when Belfodil cut back from the byeline for Mauri to fire past a flailing Mauri and into the top of the net.
Allegri admitted to Jtv that Juve had “made too many errors” in the second half and added: “We need points to secure this championship and it’s not been won yet. But we’re calm and now our focus is on Monaco.”
Asked about Tuesday’s fixture, Allegri added: “It’s a quarter-final that will be decided over 180 minutes like all the other last eight ties. No anxiety or euphoria. Everyone says we’re favourites but football games are decided on the pitch.”
At Genoa, M’Baye Niang continued his revival following his January loan move from AC Milan by breaking the deadlock minutes at the Luigi Ferraris stadium, with Iago Falque sealing the points with Genoa’s second goal minutes later.
Niang had headed just over post and bar early on, while Paul-Jose M’Poku came close to a stunning opener for the visitors when he curled a drive over ‘keeper Eugenio Lamanna only to see his effort come off the bar.
Niang broke the deadlock minutes after the restart, doing well to lose his marker in the box before tapping Sebastian Roncaglio’s delivery past Lamanna to claim his fourth goal for his new side.