Cesena held leaders Juventus to a shock 2-2 draw after Arturo Vidal missed a late penalty in an exciting encounter at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi last night. The Bianconeri had the chance to go nine points clear at the top of the table after Romaa s shock 0-0 draw with bottom of the table Parma. Carlos Tevez was suspended and Giorgio Chiellini rested, while Cesena missed Luca Vanzania, Andrea Tabanelli, Nico Pulzetti, Emmanuel Cascione and Riccardo Cazzola. The artificial playing surface added a new dimension to the game. Cesena defeated Lazio 2-1 two weeks ago and were positive right from the first whistle in this game as well. Milan A?juri and Gr goire Defrel caused so many problems for the Juventus defense with the former displaying his strength as a target-man while the Frenchman used his explosive pace and directness to good effect.
The hosts made an aggressive start, earning a series of early corners and Gigi Buffon was on hand early on for the visitors to prevent the Seahorses from taking the lead. The Juventus keeper stopped Gr goire Defrel from scoring at his near post. Defrel had another chance for the hosts, a much more straightforward one than the first. Leonardo Bonuccia s first touch let him down and Defrel was allowed to go clear on goal, but Buffon came to the rescue one-on-one. Again Buffon was called into action this time saving Ze Eduardoa s tame effort , as the goalkeeper faced three saves in the opening 11 minutes. Cesena finally took the lead however through Milan A?juri after 17 minutes. Andrea Pirlo misplaced a pass leading Defrel to break, the 23 year old found A?juri in the box who coolly slotted his effort past the impressive Buffon, who was finally beaten. This was only the fifth goal Juventus have conceded away from home this season. Prior to the goal however Fernando Llorente fluffed a great opportunity as he missed a free header which was looking costly. However Juventus regrouped quickly and equalized soon after the shaky start. Paul Pogbaa s brilliant cross found A?lvaro Morata free in the box who headed in from six yards out to make it all square at the Dino Manuzzi. The Bianconeri completed the turnaround soon after when Morataa s flick-on found the on-rushing Claudio Marchisio who made it 2-1 to the Old Lady. It was only his second goal of the season but marked a joyous occasion striking on his 200th appearance for Juventus in Serie A. Just before the break Pirlo tried to make it 3-1 but his effort just went wide.
Cesena began the second half like they started the first. Defrel, who was a menace throughout the evening, tormenting the Juventus back-line saw his effort go sailing over. He was again causing problems when he flashed the ball across the face of goal with A?juri just unable to get the decisive touch. Franco Brienza attempted to equalize for the hosts in dramatic fashion with his splendid half-volley flying over the bar and that was only a warning, as he got the equalizer few minutes later. Djuric knocked down a cross on the edge of the area for Brienza to smack it first time with the outside of his left boot, right into the bottom corner past Buffon.. A?juri was attempting to make it three goals and three points for the hosts. He controlled a lump up field, out-muscling Leonardo Bonucci as a result before scuffing his shot straight at Buffon. With eight minutes remaining Juventus had a chance to claim all three points when they were awarded a penalty. Marchisioa s cross found Llorente who controlled magnificently and was brought down by Stefano Lucchini, he also handled Llorentea s overhead kick in the same move. Mimmo Di Carlo was furious and was sent off for dissent, but Cesena stayed in the game anyway because Arturo Vidal stepped up and promptly dragged his spot-kick wide. Cesena remain in the relegation zone in Serie A, while Juventus miss out on the chance to extend their lead over Roma at the top by nine points.
- Juventus could have easily dropped all three points against Cesena if it wasn’t for the three huge saves Buffon made in the first half. All of them came in the first 15 minutes, too, which is a pretty good indication of just how fast Cesena jumped on Juventus.
- Another goal and assist from A?lvaro Morata. He has got six goals and four assists in just 782 Serie A minutes this season which has been pretty productive.
- Claudio Marchisio could have scored the game-winning goal on his 200th Serie A appearance but unfortunately it was not to be. The Italian international was once again a livewire in the middle of the park and was one of the very few positives for Max Allegri last night.
- Juventus are still ahead of Roma by 7 points. After a game like that, it definitely could have been worse. Although, it also could have been better.
- Cesenaa s 2-2 draw with the champions, only hours after Parma had taken a point off Roma, showed that Italian football boasts a healthier competitiveness than the Serie A table would suggest. Domenico Di Carloa s side were only the second team to score twice against the Bianconeri this term and would have been more than worthy winners had they gone on to become the first side in 77 games to net three past Gianluigi Buffon. They may sit in 19th spot, but Cesena showed the rest of Serie A how to get at Juve. Their pace and energy in the channels regularly found holes and will have given Massimiliano Allegri plenty to think about.
- Sundaya s two headline-grabbing results will make the rest of Serie A sit up and ponder what can happen if they put their minds to it. Cesena achieved a result that many Italian clubs would dream of picking up and they did so by backing themselves. This should be the blueprint for all top-flight sides gearing up for a clash with the Old Lady. The Seahorses hit them in the channels, they got balls into the box, they had Djuric roughing it regularly with the two centre-backs – and they caused countless problems as a result. Cesena have set the standard; more challenges like this, and it may take Juventus much longer than anticipated to wrap up a fourth straight title. Meanwhile, further displays like this will help Di Carloa s side in their battle to beat the drop. Serie A has the potential for more days like this. It just needs more of its teams to have confidence to get the right result.