Soccer-Juventus continue poor Serie A run with 2-2 draw at Verona


Soccer Football - Serie A - Hellas Verona v Juventus - Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona, Italy - February 17, 2024 Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

VERONA (Reuters) -Juventus' fading title hopes suffered another blow after they had to come from behind twice to rescue a 2-2 draw at relegation-threatened Hellas Verona in Serie A on Saturday.

Second-placed Juventus are on 54 points from 25 games, nine points behind Inter Milan who have a game in hand.

AC Milan, in third on 52 points, can further dampen the mood in Turin as they can leapfrog Massimiliano Allegri's side if they beat 11th-placed Monza on Sunday.

Juventus, who previously suffered back-to-back 1-0 defeats against Udinese and Inter, have now picked up only two points in their last four matches.

"We have to improve in choosing the last pass and put aside the post-Empoli dross," Allegri told DAZN.

"That draw had an impact on the psychological level, it's no coincidence that two defeats and another draw followed.

"Until mathematics gives us certainty, it would be a mistake to think that we have already qualified for the next Champions League."

Juve missed Europe's top-tier competition this season after they were docked 10 points last year in a case regarding the club's player transfers.

In a lively first half, Verona midfielder Michael Folorunsho put the hosts ahead in the 11th minute, sending a stunning volley from the edge of the box past hopeless Juve keeper Wojciech Szczesny following a corner.

Dusan Vlahovic levelled for Juventus from the spot just before the half-hour mark before Verona forward Tijjani Noslin nutmegged Szczesny to restore the lead early in the second half and Juve equalised again through Adrien Rabiot.

Vlahovic, who converted after a penalty was awarded for a handball, scored his seventh goal in six games in 2024.

Among the Juventus players, only Cristiano Ronaldo in 2019-20 netted more (10) in his first six matches of a single calendar year in the last 30 Serie A seasons.

Verona, who forced Szczesny to intervene five times in the first half compared to one shot on target by the visitors, were not content with a draw and Noslin made it 2-1 with first touch in the 52nd minute.

The Dutch forward scored his debut Serie A goal after he joined from Eredivisie side Fortuna Sittard in January.

But Juventus equalised again three minutes later through Rabiot, who struck inside the far post from a precise Manuel Locatelli cross into the box.

Federico Chiesa could have had the winning shot in stoppage time but Verona keeper Lorenzo Montipo denied him with the foot when the Italy striker aimed low at the near post.

Juventus, who won their previous four Serie A matches against Hellas Verona without conceding, next host Frosinone on Feb. 25.

Verona, who are 18th with 20 points, travel to fifth-placed Bologna on Friday.

(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska in Gdansk, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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