x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Del Piero on the spot to give Juve welcome win

Alessandro Del Piero converted a controversial penalty to give Juventus a 3-2 home win over Genoa on Sunday and lift the Turin club up to fifth.

Alessandro Del Piero celebrates after scoring Juventus' second goal.
Alessandro Del Piero celebrates after scoring Juventus' second goal.

Alessandro Del Piero converted a controversial penalty to give Juventus a 3-2 home win over Genoa on Sunday and lift the Turin club up to fifth after only their second victory in nine Serie A matches Alberto Zaccheroni, the Juve caretaker coach who drew his first two games in charge, again opted for three at the back but Genoa sliced through the backline 16 minutes in and Marco Rossi's scuffed effort bobbled into the corner.

Amauri ended his mini goal drought by equalising just before the break. Genoa missing two good chances through Guiseppe Sculli and Sokratis Papastathopoulos at the start of the second half and Del Piero then put Juve ahead with a goal the fans have been waiting all season for. He stole the ball off Domenico Criscito before exchanging passes with Diego, whose neat backheel put Del Piero through for Juve's second.Their joy was short-lived, though, as Rossi pounced at the other end of the field to take advantage of a rare mistake by Gianluigi Buffon and bring Genoa level again just a minute later. The game appeared to be heading for a draw until referee Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni gifted the home side victory.

He pointed to the spot when Del Piero rolled into the penalty area after tripping himself up with Papastathopoulos in close attendance and the Juve captain accepted the gift to despatch the spot-kick and earn Juve all three points. Elsewhere, Guglielmo Stendardo and Mauro Zarate netted in the second half to hand Lazio a 2-0 win at Parma in Edy Reja's first game in charge of the Rome side since replacing Davide Ballardini.

Lazio, who climbed out of the bottom three, included Argentine midfielder Cristian Ledesma in their lineup for the first time this season having been banned from the squad for asking for a move. Matteo Brighi scored twice and created another on Saturday night to help AS Roma beat Palermo 4-1 in the Serie A as Claudio Ranieri's side continued their good run of form. "We are going well at the moment and hopefully we can go as far as we possibly can," Brighi said. His team are trying to catch leaders Inter Milan, who travelled to Napoli in last night's late game.

"We know we are behind and we know that Inter is a strong team and that we need Inter to drop points. We did what we had to do and now we shall see what they do." In Germany, Ruud van Nistelrooy knew he had to take matters into his own hands as his first two goals for Hamburg on Saturday secured them an important 3-1 away win over Stuttgart. The Dutchman entered the field of play in the 65th minute and, little over 10 minutes later, he found the back of the net twice to determine the encounter and confirm why the northern Germany club have made him one of the top earners in the Bundesliga.

"For Ruud to score twice straight after coming on is extraordinary," said Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia. "But we know how strong he is in the penalty area. And he has proven that impressively." Stuttgart coach Christian Gross acknowledged that Van Nistelrooy had been "decisive" in his first defeat since taking over as coach last December. And Van Nistelrooy was delighted with the start he has made to life with Hamburg.

"These two goals are fantastic for me but above all they are important for the team," he said. "It was 1-1 and we really wanted to win this game. Therefore, I kept looking at the clock and when I was brought on, I knew that I had to do something about it. "This victory will give us further motivation for the coming weeks." * With agencies