Benevento Dent Juventus’ Tittle Ambition

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Juventus’ hopes of winning a 10th straight Serie A title were dealt a major blow after Adolfo Gaich snatched a remarkable 1-0 winner for strugglers Benevento at the Allianz Stadium.

Gaich pounced on a stray Arthur pass before punishing the sluggish hosts.

Juve had a penalty overturned and Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal disallowed as Benevento ended an 11-game winless run with one of the season’s upsets.

The defeat leaves Juve 10 points adrift of leaders Inter Milan.

With Inter’s game against Sassuolo postponed this weekend because of a coronavirus outbreak at the Nerazzurri, victory against a Benevento side that has struggled so far in 2021 was seen a chance to put pressure on the title pacesetters.

Instead, the hosts suffered their first home league defeat against a well-organised side that pinched victory with their only shot on goal.

Juve themselves had a number of chances, with Benevento goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipo ensuring the Witches left with all three points after making a series of decisive saves either side of the break from Ronaldo, Matthijs de Ligt and Alvaro Morata.

Montipo was also called upon to tip a headed second-half clearance from team-mate Federico Barba over the bar in an inspired performance.

Juve were even awarded a penalty in the 35th minute when the ball appeared to brush Daam Foulon’s arm as he tried to get his chest to a cross, but referee Rosario Abisso overturned his decision after being instructed to watch a replay on the pitchside monitor.

From the resulting corner, De Ligt tested Montipo before Morata wastefully sent his follow-up effort over the bar.

Juventus continued to press forward in the second half, but lacked urgency and quality and were eventually punished by Argentine striker Gaich, who intercepted a weak pass across goal from Arthur before coolly beating keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Ronaldo, who flashed an early shot across goal, had a volleyed effort ruled out for offside before the break and was twice denied a late equaliser by the excellent Montipo.