Juventus huffed and puffed at times against a Genoa side desperate to stave off relegation, and then gave up the ghost late on at the Marassi as the hosts scored twice late on — including a penalty in time added on — to lose 2-1 on Friday night ahead of their Coppa Italia final against Inter Milan on Wednesday.
A fine shot from Paulo Dybala looked enough to secure all three points as Massimiliano Allegri’s side sought to climb into third place ahead of Napoli who play tomorrow against Torino, but the home side roared on by their fervent supporters were able to snatch an equalizer late on, with more chances to score on either side of the equalizer thanks to schoolboy-level turnovers by Wojciech Szczesny and Adrien Rabiot. And then a minute after Moise Kean put his shot wide when it was easier to score than to miss thanks to an unselfish Alvaro Morata, the Grifone won a weak penalty that Domenico Criscito converted to seal the comeback at the final whistle.
The visitors will only have themselves to blame after missing a hatful of chances, with Moise Kean guilty of at least three of those. Word has been that Juve are ready to move on from the striker they brought back to the club from Everton, and performances such as today’s will not convince the club leadership to continue to persist with him. Cagliari and Salernitana will certainly not be remiss to think that the fix is in with how glaring those misses were! Despite their coach’s urging, Juve did look like they were already looking forward to Wednesday’s Coppa final with a number of players not on their game tonight.
Speaking after the game, Allegri was frustrated by his side’s inability to find the back of the net.
“More than angry, I am disappointed not to win a game that was on the right track. We should’ve scored a second goal and didn’t.
“The thing we really need to work on, although admittedly the characteristics of the players aren’t suited to it, is that once we had to take off Arthur, Fabio Miretti and Dybala, we didn’t have any player who could dictate the tempo and slow the moves down. We only had counter-attacking players and it was end-to-end stuff. When you waste so many chances, you are going to be punished.”
The result had looked secure soon after Dybala scored and Allegri had taken some key players off with an eye towards Wednesday.
“I am sad to lose, but in terms of the table, at least it didn’t make much difference. Now we have the Coppa Italia and absolutely cannot make the same mistakes there.
“Arthur had been out for a while, Juan Cuadrado was just coming back and had an hour in his legs, so we had to try to balance the playing time and reach Wednesday in the best condition.”
Star striker Dusan Vlahovic looked unhappy on the bench late on, but now has gone three games without scoring.
“This was one of Vlahovic’s best games on a technical level. I am very pleased with the way he played with his technique. I tried to explain it before, but I was attacked as if I was the one ruining Vlahovic. He hasn’t played that many Serie A games and we need to find a balance here.
“Maybe he didn’t realise it was a good performance, I think next season we will see a definite improvement in terms of how he balances out the tempo of his performance, learning that he hasn’t failed if he doesn’t score a goal, there’s more to it.”
On Kean, Allegri called for patience despite fans losing their minds over the striker on social media.
“Kean is a player who usually scores with half a chance, tonight he had five or six and didn’t score, so that’s football for you. He has more experience, despite being very young, but he too needs to play it simple and not use up so much energy in these individual duels that aren’t really helping.”
Criscito had broken down in tears last weekend when he missed his late penalty in the derby, did Allegri think he would miss again?
“Football can give you opportunities that come round and round again. I felt he would score tonight, because at the 95th minute again and at the same end, he was unlikely to get it wrong a second time.
“This is the sport, if you don’t take your chances, you can be punished, so Genoa deserved it.”