Juventus made to wait for fourth consecutive title


Juventus recovered to beat fierce rivals Fiorentina 3-2 in Turin but they will have to wait a little longer to claim the Serie A title thanks to results elsewhere.

Gonzalo Rodriguez’s early penalty looked like spoiling Juve’s party – a celebration only possible if Lazio failed to beat Parma, which they would manage with four unanswered goals – but Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez turned the game on its head before half-time.

After the break Tevez doubled up, reaching 20 league goals for the season, yet La Viola provided a late scare thanks to Josip Ilicic’s superb free-kick after Rodriguez had missed a second penalty.

With five games remaining, Massimiliano Allegri’s Bianconeri lead Lazio by 14 points ahead of Saturday’s trip to Sampdoria.

Juve knew Lazio could deny them the title on Wednesday night but they were also aware that anything but a home win would leave them waiting even longer.

They looked the brighter side in the opening exchanges with Llorente forcing a fine save from Neto in the 19th minute, yet they would not open the scoring.

After an exchange of counter-attacks Andrea Pirlo brought Spanish winger Joaquin down in the Juve box and Rodriguez gladly stepped up to convert the penalty before celebrating in front of a baying Bianconeri crowd.

His hubris would come back to haunt him only three minutes later, though.

Pirlo quickly atoned for his defensive mistake by swinging in the short free-kick that Llorente connected with to head home a timely equaliser.

Juve looked to catch their opponents in a disappointed fug and turned the screw before half-time with Patrice Evra heading straight at Neto before Tevez managed to secure the first-half turnaround.

There were shades of Robin van Persie’s bizarre diving header from the World Cup as the Argentinian raced to meet Evra’s ball forward before bouncing it high off his scalp and into the back of the net.

Fiorentina gave nothing more away in the first third of the second half and even sniffed for a leveller on occasions.

They thought they had been given the perfect opportunity to produce one in the 66th minute when Giorgio Chiellini felled Joaquin in the area.

This time, however, Rodriguez made a mess of his spot-kick, sending the ball wide and inspiring much backslapping from Juve’s players.

Tevez sensed blood in the water and quickly doubled his side’s advantage with a fine strike in the 70th minute. Put through by Claudio Marchisio, the former Manchester City man stormed into Neto’s box before picking his spot just inside the far post.

With time running out it looked like Juve had done enough to rubber-stamp the three points that put them on the brink of a fourth straight title, but Fiorentina fancied reminding them that there would be no festivities just yet.

Substitute Ilicic aped set-piece master Pirlo with a searing free-kick that Gianluigi Buffon could only wave a fist at.