Defending champs Juventus held to 1-1 draw at Parma in Serie A
By Daniella Matar ,APMILAN -- Defending champion Juventus struggled again as it was held to a 1-1 draw at Parma in Serie A on Sunday.
January 15, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
Andrea Pirlo gave Juventus the lead with a trademark free kick early in the second half but Nicola Sansone leveled in the 78th minute to preserve Parma's unbeaten home record.
Second-place Lazio is now only three points behind Juventus after recording a controversial 2-0 win at home to Atalanta.
It is a blow for Juventus, which had an eight-point advantage at the start of the year.
“We deserved to win because we played well and created more than Parma,” Juventus coach Antonio Conte said. “The goal was my fault, because I called out to Mirko Vucinic to leave it. It's only my fault and without that mistake we would have been talking about a Juventus which won there and kept the same lead in the table.
“But the championship was never already over, we knew we would have to fight until the end. There are great competitors in Italy, such as Napoli and Lazio, and also Milan and Inter. We have to be careful of all our rivals.”
Former Atalanta striker Sergio Floccari gave Lazio the lead after the ball struck his arm, and an own goal from Davide Brivio sealed the result.
“We deserved the victory for what we did in the second half, certainly not in the first,” Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic said. “If we are to aspire to something more this season, then we must learn to be more consistent throughout the game.
“Floccari? We would not have complained if the referee had awarded a free kick for the handball, but the touch was an involuntary ricochet and that was the decision he made.”
Napoli, which is appealing against its two-point penalty for its role in the match-fixing scandal, is two points further back after cruising to a 3-0 win at home to Palermo. Fifth-place Fiorentina surprisingly lost 3-1 at Udinese as Antonio Di Natale scored twice.
In the evening game, Sampdoria continue to impress as it held AC Milan to a 0-0 draw.