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After false dawn of Inter victory, Juve's Serie A woes worsen

Juventus' troubles continued in a 3-1 loss at newly-promoted Bari with playmaker Diego missing a penalty kick for the 27-time Serie A champions.

Juventus' troubles continued in a 3-1 loss at newly-promoted Bari with playmaker Diego missing a penalty kick for the 27-time Serie A champions. Juventus were eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday after an emphatic 4-1 home loss to Bayern Munich. The Bianconeri beat Serie A leaders Inter Milan last weekend but have now fallen further behind the defending champions who top the table by five points, six ahead of Juve, despite a 1-1 draw at Atlanta yesterday. Second-placed AC Milan were shocked 2-0 at home to Palermo.

"We're lacking continuity," Juventus president Jean-Claude Blanc said. Under-fire Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara would not criticise his team since they created plenty of scoring chances, but he called it "a heavy loss." He added: "It's tough to digest, and you can see that in the players' eyes. It's difficult to offer an explanation." With 51,849 fans on hand for Juventus' first visit to the San Nicola stadium in nine years, Riccardo Meggiorini put Bari in front seven minutes in. David Trezeguet equalized for Juventus in the 23rd but Paulo Barreto restored Bari's lead with a penalty kick in the 44th, Diego fired his spot kick way over the bar in the 68th and Sergio Almiron sealed the victory for Bari in the 81st.

Cristian Molinaro and Mauro Camoranesi exited for Juventus with apparent injuries. The game was also the last for the Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon before he had knee surgery yesterday. His operation was successful and he should be able to return in about a month. The club said yesterday that the arthroscopic operation on the Italy international's left meniscus lasted about 10 minutes. Buffon has been playing through pain in his knee for the last month but had put off the surgery to take advantage of Serie A's winter break.

Meanwhile, about 5,000 Lazio fans protested outside the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday, calling for club president Claudio Lotito and coach Davide Ballardini to leave. Lazio are 15th in Serie A, only three points clear of the relegation zone. The club's supporters grew more disgruntled after a 1-0 loss to AS Roma in the Rome derby last weekend. The ANSA news agency reported that fans acted peacefully but shouted slogans such as "Set Lazio free," and "Lotito: Leave."

Lazio beat Genoa 1-0 yesterday. * With agencies

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