MILAN/LONDON: Maurizio Sarri slammed a “messy” performance as Juventus fell to a shock 2-1 defeat at struggling Udinese on Thursday to miss the chance to seal the Serie A title for the ninth time in a row.
Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt had put the defending champions ahead three minutes before the break in Udine. But a diving Ilija Nestorovski header seven minutes after the interval got Udinese level with Seko Fofana scoring the winner in injury time.
Juventus remain six points ahead of second-placed Atalanta with three games left to play, and have another chance to seal the title for the 36th time on the pitch at home against 14th-placed Sampdoria on Sunday.
Maurizio Sarri’s side need just three more points and the coronation could come on Saturday, depending on the results of their rivals Atalanta, Inter Milan and Lazio.
But Juventus’ performance against the minnows from the north-east was worrying ahead of their crunch Champions League last 16 game against Lyon on August 7.
“We paid for a lack of order after a good first half,” said Sarri.
“We wanted to win at all costs, we were messy and we took the game on a dangerous track and lost it on 93 minutes because we wanted the three points. “At this stage of the season it is difficult, we are all tired. We have lost aggression.”
The game started with a clumsy header from Danilo, which almost resulted in an own goal before bouncing off Wojciech Szczesny’s post. Udinese keeper Juan Musso denied Paulo Dybala — who was wearing the Juventus captain’s armband — after 13 minutes with Ronaldo’s long range effort wide before De Ligt broke through, smashing in after 42 minutes.
Back after the break, Nestorovski took advantage of an Alex Sandro error to equalize, getting his head to a cross from on-loan Watford midfielder Ken Sema to beat Szczesny. And two minutes into extra time, Ivorian international Fofana capped a solid match by getting the better of De Ligt to all but ensure Udinese of staying in Serie A with his third goal this season.
Sane says he won’t suffer if City lift Euro Cup without him
In a season shaken up by the pandemic, Leroy Sane took the decision to prioritize the next one.
Spurning the chance to resume the Champions League with Manchester City, the winger decided to take the first opportunity to launch the next stage in his career at Bayern Munich, with a five-year deal confirmed early July.
Had the coronavirus not intervened to prevent the season finishing in May, Sane could have tried to lift the European Cup with City before heading home to Germany.
“Obviously it was hard for me to say no to the Champions League — for everyone it is a dream to play in the Champions League,” Sane said Thursday on a video call from Munich.
Missing the second leg of City’s last-16 game against Real Madrid next month, Sane is also ineligible for a Bayern side protecting a 3-0 advantage over Chelsea.
“If (City) win (the Champions League) then I’m happy for the club, for the team, for all my friends there,” Sane said. “But this was the way that I took. If it really happens, I don’t really think I will suffer a lot because I made the decision and nobody else.”