SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 35 - 6 May 2017 (19.45 UK)
Juventus 1 - 1 Torino
Ljajic 52 (T), Higuain 92 (J)
Juventus Stadium

A magnificent Adem Ljajic free kick was wiped out by Gonzalo Higuain in stoppages after a controversial red card, but Torino still ended the Juventus Serie A home win record.

This was the local derby and came just two days after commemorations at Superga for the demise of Il Grande Torino in the plane crash. It was also a few days before the Champions League semi-final against Monaco, so Juve rotated the squad and rested numerous stars. Toro missed Lorenzo De Silvestri and Arlind Ajeti.

Torino have beaten their city rivals just once in Serie A since Ruggiero Rizzitelli’s brace sealed a 2-1 ‘away’ result at the old Stadio delle Alpi in April 1995, along with five draws and 16 defeats, home and away. The lone victory was 2-1 on Granata turf in April 2015. The last time Torino beat Juventus ‘away’ was 2-1 on April 9, 1995, followed by three draws and nine losses.

Above all, Juve were on an all-time Serie A record of 33 consecutive home victories, going back to their 1-1 with Frosinone on September 23, 2015.

Medhi Benatia’s header from a corner bounced off the underside of the bar and back out, then Leonardo Bonucci’s follow-up was deflected over by Cristian Molinaro from close range.

Iago Falque scuffed his volley wide from the edge of the box, while Luca Rossettini got his foot to a Juan Cuadrado cross before Mario Mandzukic could strike.

Stephan Lichtsteiner stung Joe Hart’s gloves at the near post, Tomas Rincon sprinted back to stop an Adem Ljajic counter and Belotti fired over under pressure on a Davide Zappacosta cross.

Dybala completed a great give-and-go with Mandzukic, but Hart parried the finish with his chest at the near post. On the stroke of half-time, Adem Ljajic turned just over the far top corner, as the ball bounced slightly.

The deadlock was broken by a moment of magic, as Ljajic curled a magnificent free kick in off the underside of the near top corner, making it simply unstoppable.

Moments later, Mandzukic almost equalised, his angled drive flashing across the face of goal. Gonzalo Higuain was thrown on, but there was a moment of huge controversy. Afriyie Acquah had already been booked for an elbow on Dybala, which was shown on replays to be nothing more than a simple coming-together. The midfielder then went into a sliding tackle on Mandzukic and clearly got the ball, but the referee awarded another yellow card. Sinisa Mihajlovic was understandably furious and was sent off after going head-to-head with the fourth official.

Tomas Rincon’s header was off target, but Marco Benassi stung Neto’s gloves on the counter. Khedira missed a sitter, ballooning over undisturbed from 12 yards. Higuain could only scuff the ball straight at Hart from close range and Torino also lost Daniele Baselli to a calf injury.

Bonucci came sliding on to a Miralem Pjanic low cross only to turn it straight at Hart, then the goalkeeper flapped wildly at another cross, but got away with it.

Juventus got their equaliser in stoppages, as Higuain controlled on the edge of the box and on the turn drilled low into the near bottom corner just past Hart’s fingertips. Yet again, Toro conceded a heart-breaking late goal in the Derby della Mole.

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Juventus: Neto; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Benatia, Asamoah; Khedira, Rincon (Pjanic 69); Cuadrado, Dybala (Alex Sandro 80), Sturaro (Higuain 56); Mandzukic
Torino: Hart; Zappacosta, Rossettini, Moretti, Molinaro; Acquah, Baselli (Obi 74); Iago Falque (Iturbe 83), Ljajic, Boye (Benassi 68); Belotti
Ref: Valeri

Sent off: Acquah 57 (T)