x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Juve get lucky in narrow win

Juventus admit that luck was on their side as they keep the pressure on Inter Milan with a 1-0 win over Fiorentina.

Juventus maintained the pressure on league leaders Inter Milan with a second successive 1-0 win in Serie A and acknowledged that luck had been with them. The Turin club has slipped back into its old habit of eking out narrow victories, sprinkled with good fortune. Fiorentina suffered one poor decision from a referee's assistant, and complained about further oversights from the match officials.

"I can understand if Fiorentina think they deserved more from the game," said Juve captain Alessandro Del Piero, "and that's not to do with any decisions because I can't comment on that. They played well." Del Piero also asked reporters not to take too seriously his own display of frustration after being substituted by Juve head coach Claudio Ranieri. Del Piero threw to the ground the jacket offered to him as he left the field 13 minutes from time. "I was a bit fired up," he explained.

Del Piero had created Juventus's goal and some of the best chances they had to make the game safe. His clever through-ball after 20 minutes invited Claudio Marchisio to take on Sebastian Frey, the Fiorentina goalkeeper, one-on-one and Marchisio won the duel with a cool chip. Pavel Nedved, fed by Del Piero, then flashed a shot across Frey's goal. Fiorentina had already seen an appeal for a penalty against Olof Mellberg rejected and, shortly after falling behind, Alberto Gilardino finished a move by converting from close range. He turned to celebrate and saw a linesman's flag raised. Replays confirmed an incorrect decision.

Fiorentina's irritation worsened when Mario Alberto Santana hit the crossbar and Juventus held on to their advantage, thanks later to Gianluigi Buffon's fine save from Gilardino, the goalkeeper celebrating his return from a long injury to Serie A. At the bottom of the table, Chievo's revival continued, a 1-0 win secured in injury-time propelling them to three points above Reggina, who had Carlos Carmona sent off in the first-half.

ihawkey@thenational.ae