Spalletti fails to inspire Roma, Juve win 10th in a row

January 18, 2016 1:00 pm

MILAN (Reuters) – New coach Luciano Spalletti failed to inspire AS Roma as they were held 1-1 at home by bottom club Verona on his debut on Sunday and Juventus notched their 10th Serie A win in a row by hammering Udinese 4-0 away.

Paulo Dybala scored twice for second-placed title holders Juventus, who are two points behind leaders Napoli, ruining 10-man Udinese’s day as the hosts officially inaugurated their rebuilt, state-of-the-art stadium.

AC Milan eased the pressure on coach Sinisa Mihajlovic with a 2-0 home win over fourth-placed Fiorentina with an early goal from Carlos Bacca and a late strike from Kevin-Prince Boateng, his first goal since returning for a second spell at the club.

Inter Milan, held 1-1 at Atalanta on Saturday, are third with 40 and Fiore are two more points behind after a fourth straight loss. Milan are now sixth on 32 points.

Roma lost patience with coach Rudi Garcia, firing him on Wednesday after a slump in form which included a 6-1 Champions League drubbing by Barcelona and Italian Cup elimination at home to second-tier Spezia.

But the return of Spalletti, previously in charge from 2005 to 2009, did not produce a victory against opponents who have still not won after 20 league games this season.

Roma, who briefly led the table in the autumn, went ahead in the 41st minute when Daniele De Rossi backheeled the ball to midfielder Radja Nainggolan, who scored from close range.

But Giampaolo Pazzini levelled with a penalty in the 61st minute after Leandro Castan fouled Pawel Wszolek, to leave Roma fifth in the table with 35 points.

Roma forward Edin Dzeko’s poor form continued when he fired over the crossbar from Miralem Pjanic’s pass and also missed the target with a free header in stoppage time.


Udinese unveiled their shiny new Dacia Arena, built on the site of the old Friuli stadium but more compact and atmospheric than the old ground.

But Juventus, who have flourished since opening their own stadium in 2011, quickly dampened the festivities as Dybala curled in a free kick after 15 minutes.

Sami Khedira turned in Dybala’s pass at the far post for the second, then Mario Mandzukic was upended by Danilo, who was sent off, and Dybala converted the penalty, all before the half hour.

Alex Sandro curled in the fourth before halftime to keep Juve, aiming for a fifth successive title, in second place with 42 points behind Napoli, who beat Sassuolo 3-1 on Saturday.

Lazio came from two goals behind to draw 2-2 at Bologna, who raced into the lead with strikes from Emanuele Giaccherini and Mattia Destro in the first 20 minutes.

The game turned when Adam Masina gave away a penalty and was sent off with Antonio Candreva reducing the arrears. Miroslav Klose then won possession to set up the equaliser for Senad Lulic in the 77th minute.

Leonardo Pavoletti scored twice as Genoa thumped Palermo 4-0 in a battle of two teams just outside the relegation zone with Guillermo Barros Schelotto, the Sicilians’ third coach of the season, watching from the stands.

Relegation-threatened Carpi shocked Sampdoria 2-1 while Chievo and Empoli shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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