Genoa utterly annihilated Juventus in the first half and sent the leaders crashing to a 3-1 defeat, with two added injury woes.
The Bianconeri knew Milan had won last night, so needed a victory to maintain the seven-point gap. Gonzalo Higuain was not risked from the start after a muscular problem, while Andrea Barzagli, Paulo Dybala and Marko Pjaca were injured. The hosts missed top scorer Leonardo Pavoletti, plus suspended duo Miguel Veloso and Lucas Orban.
Juve had won five of their last six meetings with Genoa, home and away, save for a 1-0 loss here in October 2014. Max Allegri set out an unusual 3-5-2 formation with Stephan Lichtsteiner in the back three and Juan Cuadrado on the left of a front two.
It was a remarkable start, as Leonardo Bonucci was caught in possession to spark a counter, Gigi Buffon managed three reaction saves, including one with the aid of Alex Sandro, but could do nothing on the fourth from Giovanni Simeone.
Buffon desperately scrambled to get a loose ball under control, despite the efforts of his teammates, and moments later Genoa added a second goal.
Darko Lazovic skipped past Alex Sandro on the left and his cross was met by a Simeone diving header from six yards. Cholito hadn’t found the net in six games, but had a brace in the opening 13 minutes.
Every time Genoa went on the counter, they were dangerous and ran into huge spaces. Luca Rigoni turned a Diego Laxalt cross over from close range.
The third goal was absolutely chaotic. A corner was knocked down for Rigoni’s volley and Alex Sandro’s attempt at a goal-line clearance only fired it into the roof of the net. Simeone followed up on the rebound, but by that stage it had already gone over. It was the first time since April 2004 against Lecce that Juventus had conceded three goals in a Serie A first half.
The Bianconeri’s day got even worse when Bonucci pulled up clutching his hamstring and immediately requested a substitution.
Mario Mandzukic had penalty appeals for a very clumsy Lucas Ocampos challenge from behind, but the referee waved play on. Juve moved to four at the back, but it was too late to change a disastrous first half performance.
Juve seemed livelier after the break, Miralem Pjanic drilling wide and Sami Khedira’s volley off target from six yards on a knocked-down corner.
Allegri unleashed Higuain for Lichtsteiner, but it should’ve been 4-0 when Simeone forced Buffon into a desperate save at the near post after Medhi Benatia’s error.
Dani Alves was stretchered off on 75 minutes when the substitutions had been completed, leaving Juventus down to 10 men. It could well have been nine, because Juan Cuadrado was only booked for a terrible studs-up sliding tackle on Diego Laxalt.
Juventus did pull one back with eight minutes to go thanks to a trademark Pjanic free kick into the near top corner.
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