Buf­fon sounds alarm as Juve stut­ter

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

THE JU­VEN­TUS de­fence is leak­ing, goals have dried up and cap­tain Gian­luigi Buf­fon (pix) has rung the alarm af­ter the Serie A cham­pi­ons were ex­posed dur­ing a 2-1 Derby d’Italia de­feat to In­ter Mi­lan.

Ju­ven­tus host Cagliari to­mor­row, and goal­keeper Buf­fon wants tight­en­ing up at the back.

“That’s the third time this sea­son we’ve con­ceded a goal from a cor­ner kick, it’s not like us,” Buf­fon hit out.

He spoke out af­ter Mauro Icardi, from a cor­ner, and Ivan Perisic rose above the Juve de­fence to head goals and se­cure In­ter’s first San Siro win over the Turin gi­ants since 2010 and the reign of Jose Mour­inho.

Juve’s first de­feat of the sea­son has left Napoli top with a one-point cush­ion, and the southerners can even af­ford a wry smile at Juve’s ex­pense.

For­mer Napoli striker Gon­zalo Higuain hit a record 36 goals in Serie A last sea­son but, de­spite hit­ting a brace in a 3-1 league win over Sas­suolo last week, the Ar­gen­tinian has fired blanks in his last two Juve ap­pear­ances.

In­deed Ju­ven­tus, tipped for glory, per­haps pre­ma­turely, in this sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League fol­low­ing mid­fielder Mi­ralem Pjanic’s sign­ing from Roma and wing­back Dani Alves’ move north from Barcelona, are suf­fer­ing in at­tack.

Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri’s men were held to a frus­trat­ing goal­less draw by Europa League cham­pi­ons Sevilla last Wed­nes­day and their 66th minute opener on Sun­day came cour­tesy of Swiss wing­back Stephan Lich­steiner.

Si­mul­ta­ne­ously, Napoli for­ward Jose Calle­jon sits top of the league scor­ing charts with five goals in four games, and Pol­ish team­mate Arka­diusz Mi­lik – bought from Ajax as a re­place­ment for Higuain – has hit four in four games.

Al­though Higuain has three league goals to his name, Paulo Dy­bala – Juve’s top scorer last sea­son – has yet to get off the mark.

Al­le­gri is also fac­ing criticism af­ter a medi­ocre dis­play by Pjanic in front of the Ju­ven­tus de­fence, but the 49-year-old coach says he ex­pects a re­ac­tion. the Cham­pi­ons League twice in the past three years, Atletico haven’t won at the Camp Nou since Tor­res scored twice in a 3-1 vic­tory dur­ing his first “The de­feat will help us in the end,” Al­le­gri said. “Thank­fully, on Wed­nes­day (Thurs­day in Malaysia) we have a chance to make amends, al­though Cagliari are a lively, strong side so we’ll have to be very fo­cused. We should be rais­ing our con­cen­tra­tion lev­els, not low­er­ing them.” De­feat to the Sar­dini­ans is un­think­able, but would be warmly wel­comed by a num­ber of sides look­ing to end Juve’s five-year grip on the cham­pi­onship. In­ter have been touted as one of Juve’s big­gest chal­lengers this sea­son, and Sun­day’s dis­ci­plined, com­pact per­for­mance gave an in­di­ca­tion of just how far the Ner­az­zurri can go this sea­son un­der new coach Frank De Boer. Even Al­le­gri ad­mit­ted: “In­ter are one of the con­tenders for the scud­etto.” An open­ing day de­feat to Chievo, fol­lowed by a dour home draw with Palermo are now dis­tant mem­o­ries and De Boer’s mis­er­able few weeks in the hot seat have made way for plenty of op­ti­mism. “This re­sult gives us con­fi­dence and we needed that as a team,” said De Boer, who suc­ceeded Roberto Mancini only two weeks be­fore the start of the sea­son. “It’s im­por­tant to move on as a team and to­day we did that. That’s the only way we can get results.” Else­where, Roma host league new boys Cro­tone, who claimed their first point of the sea­son in a 1-1 draw with Em­poli on Sun­day, to the Sta­dio Olimpico look­ing to make amends for Sun­day’s 1-0 de­feat to Fiorentina. It left Lu­ciano Spal­letti’s men in third at three points adrift and he said: “The ta­ble is re­ally tight but this de­feat is a missed op­por­tu­nity for us. “When you lose, you go home with no points but you still have to eval­u­ate the per­for­mance. The team did its job tonight. Some­times in foot­ball you end up los­ing when you play good teams like Fiorentina.” – AFP

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