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Juventus 1-1 Genoa: Borriello returns to haunt Bianconeri

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Juventus 1-1 Genoa: Borriello returns to haunt Bianconeri
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Juventus 1-1 Genoa: Borriello returns to haunt Bianconeri

Juventus blew the chance to move eight points clear at the summit of Serie A by being held to a 1-1 draw at home to a resilient Genoa side on Saturday evening.

Despite dominating possession and territory in the first half, the league leader rarely tested Sebastien Frey in the Rossoblu goal, but the hosts belatedly made the breakthrough early in the second half through Fabio Quagliarella.

However, ex-Bianconero forward Marco Borriello came off the bench to level matters on 68 minutes and the visitors held on to claim a point that boosts their bid to avoid relegation, while at the same time offering second-placed Napoli the opportunity to close to within three points of Juventus should the Partenopei prevail in Parma on Sunday.

Undoubtedly buoyed by the news that Scudetto rival Lazio had been surprisingly beaten at home by Chievo, the Bianconeri began brightly, with Arturo Vidal ghosting in behind the Genoa defence to latch onto a wonderful ball over the top from Leonardo Bonucci, only to be dispossessed by the scrambling Luca Antonelli. Claudio Marchisio, meanwhile, did manage to get a shot away when he broke the visitors’ offside trap midway through the first half but the Italy international fired badly wide.

However, for the most part, Genoa were doing a fine job repelling the home side’s advances, with Luca Antonelli, Andreas Granqvist and Thomas Manfredini taking it in turns to be in the right place at the right time. In addition, former Juventus forward Ciro Immobile, who has been linked with a more permanent return to Turin, was also threatening sporadically at the other end.

Still, the league leader really should have opened the scoring just before the break when the effervescent Stephan Lichsteiner whipped a wonderful ball into the area. However, after doing well to get in front of Granqvist, Quagliarella prodded wide. The former Napoli hitman made amends, though, nine minutes into the second half, netting with the aid of a deflection off Granqvist after Lichtsteiner had pulled the ball back invitingly across the six-yard box.

His defense now having been breached, Genoa coach David Ballardini decided to make some changes and sent former Turin misfit Borriello on in place of the tiring Immobile. The on-loan Roma striker's first contribution was to get booked for cynically hauling down the rampaging Lichsteiner but his next intervention was far more positive, Borriello heading home Juraj Kucka's cross at the far post.

Jolted by that bolt from the blue, Juventus immediately went back on the front foot, with Lichtsteiner testing Frey from distance with a low drive. Substitute Sebastian Giovinco then struck the post with a sublime free kick before Stefano Beltrame drew another terrific save out of Genoa's No.1.

Try as they might, though, the home side was unable to snatch all three points, its sense of frustration only compounded by the referee's refusal to point to the spot after Granqvist had accidentally handled in the area in the final seconds of injury time.

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