MILAN (AP) – Juventus’ hopes of retaining his Serie A title fell when they surprisingly lost 1-0 at home to relegation-threatened Benevento on Sunday amid pressure on coach Andrea Pirlo increased even further.
Juventus remained third, 10 points behind Inter Milan, the Serie A leaders who had postponed their game against Sassuolo due to coronavirus cases in the Nerazzurri camp. AC Milan can move within six points of Inter and later beat Fiorentina.
The win, perhaps Benevento’s biggest in its history, was the team’s first win since January 6 and brought Filippo Inzaghi’s side seven points from the relegation zone.
Pirlo, who is in his first season as coach, has been under increasing pressure after Juventus’ recent Champions League exit through Porto.
Juventus struggled to influence Benevento , although he believed defender Daam Foulon had received a handball penalty in the 36th minute. However, the referee overturned his decision after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor.
Cristiano Ronaldo had the ball in the net two minutes later but was disqualified for offside.
Benevento took a shock lead, when Arthur’s cross was hit and attacked over his own area to Danilo by Gaich, who gleefully turned it into the lower left corner.
Ronaldo almost equalized nine minutes from time, but his overhead kick flew far .
A new team from Atalanta won 2-0 at Hellas Verona in Serie A on Sunday to increase their chances of qualifying for the Champions League next year.
Atalanta dominated after the introduction of a surprising new tactical system, with Ruslan Malinovskyi and Duván Zapata scoring a goal in the first half to help the team consolidate fourth place.
It moved on eyes high with Juventus and five points over Roma and Napoli, who later face each other in the Italian capital.
In Verona Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini changed his formation and put four behind for the first time since 2016.
His side dominated and finally found the breakthrough in the 33rd minute, when Verona defender Federico Dimarco played in the penalty area and Malinovskyi put the penalty in the lower left corner.
Zapata almost doubled Atalanta’s lead shortly afterwards, but it did his attempt was directed to the left post.
The Colombian striker scored a goal three minutes before half-time when he overtook Matteo Lovato before setting an angled drive past Verona goalkeeper Marco Silvestri into the empty net.
Atalanta believed they had extended their lead shortly after the hour when Cristian Romero shot a Malinovskyi free-kick. It turned out that he was in control of the ball with his arm and that it was not approved for handball.
Lazio continued to hope to sneak into the Champions League with a 1-0 win at Udinese.
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