Juventus dominated from start to finish but was held to a 0-0 draw by Lazio in Serie A on Saturday, just three days before their key Champions League match against Chelsea.
Leonardo Bonucci hit the crossbar for Juventus but the defending champions – who had scored 10 goals in their previous two matches – could not find a way past Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti, who made a number of saves.
Marchetti pulled off a spectacular stop, changing direction midair to keep out Arturo Vidal’s deflected effort. Sebastian Giovinco also went close on several occasions for Juventus, who clearly missed the suspended Andrea Pirlo.
“Congratulations to Juventus… We tried to play but they were too strong and kept on pressing, they trapped us in the area”
Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic
“We had so many scoring opportunities and dominated the match, it’s a pity we didn’t get the goal,” Juventus assistant coach Angelo Alessio said.
“Lazio played in a catenaccio style and were simply defensive throughout, we even hit the crossbar, if we had scored once it could have finished in a thrashing.
“If you don’t score, you don’t win, it’s simple. But there are only positives to take from tonight. I don’t look at what other teams do, only at what we do.”
Lazio didn’t have a shot on target the entire match and struggled to get out of their own half.
“Congratulations to Juventus,” Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic said.
“We tried to play but they were too strong and kept on pressing, they trapped us in the area. We have to thank our goalkeeper that it ended 0-0.
“At least tonight we can say we didn’t concede, lately we’ve conceded quite a lot. But up front we didn’t have any courage or initiative. However, the point is still good for morale and the standings, we’ll hope to give a bit more another time.”
Juventus extended their lead at the top of the standings to five points over Inter Milan, who play Cagliari on Sunday.
In the later Serie A match on Saturday, Napoli and AC Milan drew 2-2.
In Naples, two defensive blunders helped Napoli establish a two-goal lead.
Gokhan Inler scored his first goal for Napoli in the fifth minute with a swerving, long-range effort which wrong-footed Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, who was captain for the night in place of the suspended Massimo Ambrosini.
Napoli doubled their lead on the half hour when Lorenzo Insigne’s shot took a slight deflection off Francesco Acerbi and sailed through Abbiati’s legs.
It was almost worse for Milan moments later. Inisgne pounced on a terrible backpass from Kevin Constant but rather than going for goal passed to Edinson Cavani, and the danger was cleared by a last-ditch tackle from Philippe Mexes.
Milan pulled one back on the stroke of halftime when Mattia De Sciglio cut the ball back to El Shaarawy, who sent a looping effort in from the edge of the area.
Napoli had several chances to extend their lead but Milan completed their comeback eight minutes from time when Robinho sent a through ball in for El Shaarawy to side-foot it home for his 10th goal of the season.