Juventus draws 1-1 at Sassuolo, Roma wins 3-0
MILAN (AP) — Defending champion Juventus dropped its first points of the season as it was held to a surprise 1-1 draw by bottom club Sassuolo on Saturday and saw its lead at the top of the Serie A table cut to one point ahead of Roma.
Sassuolo took a shock lead in the 12th minute through Simone Zaza but Paul Pogba leveled almost immediately with a magnificent strike.
“We knew of the difficulties this game presented beforehand,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “Sassuolo had some tough results despite playing well.
“We could have and should have done better. We’ll get back and work on the areas we need to improve. We didn’t get many shots in on goal and allowed them to break on the counter.”
The result ends a run of 13 consecutive league victories for Juventus.
Earlier, Roma cruised to a 3-0 win over Chievo Verona, with all the goals coming in the first half.
Mattia Destro and Adem Ljajic scored before a penalty from Francesco Totti ensured the capital side heads into Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Bayern Munich full of confidence.
Juventus visits Olympiakos on Wednesday in their European encounter.
Sassuolo remained winless but moved off the foot of the table ahead of the rest of the weekend’s matches.
“It was a great night against a strong opponent,” Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli said. “We played an open game, we’d prepared well and all the team had a great game.
“This has to be the starting point for future matches. After seeing this match many will have said what is Sassuolo doing at the bottom of the table. Juve wins against everyone but didn’t do it against Sassuolo, this draw is like a win because of the courage it gives us.”
Leonardo Bonucci — who had scored a controversial winner against Roma before the international break — thought he had given Juventus an early lead but he was flagged offside.
Moments later Sassuolo went in front. Bonucci cleared Zaza’s initial shot off the line, but the ball eventually came back to the Italy striker, who fired home.
It was only the third goal Juventus had conceded all season.
However, Sassuolo’s lead lasted little more than five minutes before Pogba curled the ball into the far corner from the edge of the area.
Sassuolo looked the stronger in the second half and had several chances to restore its advantage as Juventus grew frustrated.
Juventus’s misery was compounded when Simone Padoin was sent off from the bench in stoppage time for dissent.
In the capital, Roma got off to the perfect start when Destro headed in a corner with less than five minutes on the clock.
Roma doubled its tally in the 25th minute. Ljajic latched onto a long ball from Totti and burst into the box before firing into the far corner from a tight angle.
Totti sealed the match shortly after the half hour with a powerful penalty after Daniel De Rossi had been hauled down by Dario Dainelli.