Serie A: Cesena 2 Juventus 2

Lowly Cesena came back from two goals down to stun 10-man Juventus 2-2 and steal a point at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi in Serie A on Saturday.

Juventus travelled to Cesena on the back of a three-match losing run, and they looked to have put that behind them as Alessandro Matri scored a first-half brace.

But a penalty to Luis Antonio Jimenez in the shadows of half-time gave their relegation-threatened opponents reason to believe, and Juve’s worst fears were realised in the 80th minute as Marco Parolo nabbed a deserved equaliser.

The result is a further blow for Juve boss Luigi Delneri, who is under increasing pressure to keep his job following a poor run of results for the proud Italian club.

Matri, on loan from Cagliari until the end of the season, was in threatening form early and had already seen a goal ruled out for offside before his 19th-minute opener.

The Italian striker applied to the finishing touch to a magnificent link-up move with Alessandro Del Piero, threading his shot from a tight angle to put Juve up 1-0.

Cesena should have equalised near the half hour through Emanuele Giaccherini, who missed an easy follow-up to his original shot with Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon beaten and the goal his mercy.

The seesawing momentum swung back the way of Juventus as Matri picked up his second in the 35th minute, finishing where Giaccherini could not after Del Piero’s shot struck the crossbar.

But Cesena had pulled one back six minutes later through Jimenez, who converted from the spot after Buffon was punished for tripping up Parolo, and two minutes later Juve defender Marco Motta received his marching order after picking up a second caution.

Cesena came out after the break looking lively and dominated the second half, though Buffon repelled their initial attacks with a number of fine saves.

But Parolo would not be denied, smashing in a half-volley after Jimenez’s free kick fell invitingly at his feet 20 minutes from time to heap further pain on Juventus.

Juve remain seventh on the table for the time being, though they could fall as far as ninth once the weekend’s round is completed.

Cesena move a point clear of the relegation zone in 17th place, though they will fall into the drop zone if Lecce can pull out something special at home to Bologna on Sunday.

 


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