Juventus missed the chance to clinch an eighth consecutive Serie A title on Saturday as SPAL stunned them by coming from behind to win 2-1 at the Stadio Paolo Mazza, their first victory over Juve in 62 years.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side, already on 84 points, knew a draw would be enough to wrap up the championship with six rounds remaining and took the lead in the first half through Moise Kean.
However, the home side fought back after the break as goals from Kevin Bonifazi and Sergio Floccari secured their first win against the Italian champions since February 1957.
The Turin club can still be named champions this weekend if second-placed Napoli fail to win away to rock-bottom Chievo on Sunday.
Late on Saturday, Edin Dzeko scored his first home goal in almost a year to seal a 1-0 win for AS Roma over Udinese while AC Milan beat Lazio 1-0.
Allegri stood by his decision to pick a heavily rotated side, with an eye towards Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Ajax in Turin, after the first leg ended 1-1.
“It would’ve been easy to field the first choice XI today and get the Scudetto but we’ve had such a remarkable run of results this season that it was more important to focus on the Champions League game coming up,” he told Sky Italia.
“The key to Juventus winning the Scudetto is that we do well in the head-to-head clashes but above all bring home the points everywhere else.
“You usually win the Scudetto with 84-86 points but last term Napoli had 91 –- a club record –- and still finished second, so our performance that season was extraordinary.”
It was Juventus’s second defeat of the league season and they remain 20 points clear of Napoli, while SPAL have risen to 13th place on 35 points, seven clear of the relegation zone.
Andrea Barzagli and Juan Cuadrado returned for Juve after injury lay-offs, while 17-year-old defender Paolo Gozzi and midfielder Grigoris Kastanos made their Serie A debuts for the club, as did substitute Stephy Mavdidi.
It was 19-year-old, on-form striker Kean who caught the eye again when he put Juve in front with an instinctive finish after 29 minutes.
However, SPAL were rewarded for an impressive start to the second half when Bonifazi rose to head in his team’s equaliser from a corner.
The hosts continued to play on the front foot and were rewarded with 15 minutes remaining when Floccari raced on to a loose ball in the area and swept a finish into the corner.
It was only SPAL’s second ever win against Juventus but marked their third successive home victory after they beat Roma and Lazio.
Pele recovering well after kidney stone operation
Brazilian soccer great Pele had a successful operation to remove a kidney stone on Saturday, doctors in Sao Paulo said.
Pele had the surgery at the Israelite Albert Einstein hospital.
“The procedure was a success and the patient is back in his room,” a brief statement from doctors said.
Considered by many the game’s finest player and the only man to have won three World Cups, Pele had also been admitted to hospital in France last week after suffering a fever following an event in the city with French World Cup-winner Kylian Mbappe.
He was soon discharged but his doctors in Brazil decided to admit him again when he returned home on Tuesday.
The 78-year-old former Santos and New York Cosmos player has suffered from kidney and prostate problems and also had hip replacement surgery in recent years.
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