New coach, same problems for misfiring Juventus

09:51, February 02, 2010      

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Alberto Zaccheroni was unable to deliver a winning start as Juventus coach on Sunday when the troubled Turin side was held 1-1 at home by lowly Lazio.

Stefano Mauri volleyed home in the 78th minute to earn the Roman visitors a draw just after Alessandro Del Piero had converted a dubious penalty to give Juve the lead.

The draw left Juventus, who also hit the woodwork with a Diego shot, joint fifth in the Serie A table alongside Palermo on 34 points, and four points behind Napoli who occupy the final Champions League qualifying place.

"There was a desire to do too much sometimes," said Zaccheroni, who had replaced the sacked Ciro Ferrara on Friday.

"The players went after the result too frenetically. Tonight they showed desire. Here we have a team capable of winning. I like winning and here I have that opportunity.

"At the moment there's a bit of confusion. There's certainly a lot to do. But with the squad I have, I'm confident".

Second-placed Milan's hopes of taking a big chunk out of Inter Milan's lead after their city rivals' visit to Parma was snowed-off were dashed when they were held 1-1 at home by Livorno.

Cristiano Lucarelli's 53rd-minute goal earned the Tuscan visitors a point after Massimo Ambrosini had put Milan in front just before halftime.

Third-placed Roma took advantage to pull level with Milan on points, having played one game more, by beating basement side Siena 2-1 despite missing captain Francesco Totti, Luca Toni and Mirko Vucinic, who were all unfit.

Milan have 41 points from 21 games, eight points less than Inter, at the end of a disappointing eight days in which they were knocked out of the Italian Cup by Udinese and lost last weekend's derby 2-0.

Livorno were well organized at the San Siro and proved difficult to break down until Ambrosini hooked in with the help of a blunder by keeper Francesco Benussi, who gifted the midfielder the ball in front of goal when he flapped at a David Beckham cross.

Ronaldinho had come closest before that when he thumped the post with a right-footed strike from the edge of the area in the 36th minute.

Both sides had penalty appeals turned down after Lucarelli poked in a mis-hit Claudio Bellucci shot while Benussi produced a fine save to keep out an Ambrosini header.

"We lacked that little something," Milan coach Leonardo said. "We went into the game after these (bad) results and we needed a good performance.

"We didn't play a great match but it wasn't bad either. We didn't take our chances against a side that came to defend."

In the capital, John Arne Riise, who scored a stoppage-time winner against Juventus last weekend, gave Roma a deserved lead with a spectacular left-footed volley into the far corner in the 29th minute.

The visitors responded four minutes before halftime when Simone Vergassola touched in the rebound of a Mato Jajalo effort.

But Stefano Okaka, who is set to join Premier League side Fulham on loan, back-heeled a cross from fellow substitute Adrian Pit to seal victory for Roma in the 88th minute.

"The goal was really satisfying. I wanted to put on a beautiful performance," Okaka said.

"I'm going to England to improve myself. This opportunity came up and I couldn't say no."

Fiorentina, rocked in the week by Romania forward Adrian Mutu's failed drugs tests, drew 2-2 at 10-man Cagliari.

Source: China Daily/Agencies
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