Paulo Dybala scores but Juventus held by lowly Lecce
Paulo Dybala scored but Juventus were held 1-1 at lowly Lecce on Saturday with the defending champions in danger of being overtaken by Inter Milan at the top of the Serie A table.
Both goals came from penalties with Dybala’s strike from the spot after 50 minutes cancelled out by Lecce’s Marco Mancosu’s effort six minutes later.
The Italian champions have 23 points from nine games, but could be overtaken by Antonio Conte’s Inter who are two points behind before hosting Parma later on Saturday.
Juventus rested Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo after Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League win over Lokomotiv Moscow, and ahead of two Serie A matches in four days next week.
But Dybala, who scored both goals against the Russians, started up front alongside Gonzalo Higuain, with Federico Bernardeschi just behind the Argentine strike duo.
Maurizio Sarri gave starts to Emre Can and Danilo with Blaise Matuidi and Juan Cuadrado starting on the bench.
Promoted Lecce, a side from the heel of Italy, are struggling above the relegation zone, but managed to pull through for a precious point despite being dominated by the visitors.
Slovenian midfielder Zan Majer forced a save from Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny after just two minutes.
Dybala was targeted early by the Lecce defenders with Luca Rossettini and Marco Calderoni picking up yellow cards early for fouling the Argentine forward.
Higuain looked as he had the opener after a quarter of an hour finishing off Alex Sandro’s cross, but his effort was ruled for offside.
Gabriel denied Dybala and Bernardeschi then failed to connect with a Danilo cross just before the break.
But Dybala put Juventus ahead five minutes into the second half with his sixth goal in five games following a disputed foul on Miralem Pjanic.
But captain Mancosu pulled his side back level from the spot six minutes later after a Matthijs De Ligt handball.
Gabriel denied Higuain on the line after 68 minutes and Leonardo Bonucci also sent over as the Turin giants pushed forward unsuccessfully for the winner.
The bruising encounter could prove costly for the champions with Pjanic, Higuain and Rodrigo Bentancur all taking knocks.
Inter host Parma later Saturday with Genoa playing their first game under new coach Thiago Motta at home against Mario Balotelli’s Brescia.
JUVENTUS FOOTBALL CLUB