Juventus, Cagliari share Serie A spoils

Juventus were held to a disappointing home draw by Cagliari to

hand AC Milan an opportunity to go clear at the top of the Serie A

standings later on Sunday evening.

Unbeaten Juve started the weekend level on 37 points with Milan

at the summit and looked set to pick up three more points after

taking a seventh-minute lead through Mirko Vucinic on Sunday.

However, mid-table Cagliari upset their hosts by drawing level

just after half-time through Andrea Cossu and Juve could not find a

winner as the Bianconeri had to settle for an eighth draw in 18

games this season.

The result gives Juve a one-point lead at the top of the table,

but Milan could take over pole position if they beat city rivals

Inter in Sunday night’s Milanese derby.

Cagliari had won just two of their 31 league encounters at

Juventus over the years and that record looked unlikely to improve

as Antonio Conte’s men took an early lead.

Stephan Lichtsteiner created the chance with a fine pass and

Vucinic made no mistake from the edge of the six-yard box.

Former Cagliari striker Alessandro Matri could have doubled

Juve’s lead soon after but he fired just wide from outside the

area, while Simone Pepe was denied by a good save from Michael

Agazzi just before half-time as the home side sought to put

daylight between themselves and their opponents.

Cagliari’s only real chance of the first half saw Davide Astori

fire wide in the 20th minute, but the visitors managed to get back

on terms three minutes into the second half thanks to Cossu.

He tried his luck with a left-footed shot from outside the box

and Gianluigi Buffon was left with no chance as the ball whistled

into the bottom left corner of the net.

That was a big setback for Juve but they at least had sufficient

time to recover and try to force a winner.

The hosts were not short of chances, but they were unable to

make any of them count as Matri headed over, Arturo Vidal failed to

keep his shot down while Vucinic was also unable to hit the target

with his opportunity.

Perhaps the best opening of the lot fell to veteran striker

Alessandro Del Piero with 10 minutes left, but the club’s all-time

record goalscorer saw his close-range header saved by Agazzi on the

line.