Juventus edge Spezia to push for late title | football news

MILAN (AP) — Juventus continued their slow progress toward the Serie A title race on Saturday with a 1-0 victory over Spezia that moved them within five points of leaders Inter Milan.
Álvaro Morata scored for the first time since mid-January with 20 minutes remaining at Turin’s Allianz Stadium to keep Juve hot on the heels of champions Inter, who thrashed Salernitana 5-0 on Friday.

Juve could find themselves seven points off the top when Napoli host AC Milan in Sunday’s final game, with both within a point of Inter ahead of one of the biggest games of the season so far.
However, regardless of the result at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Juve are pressing thanks to a run of 14 league games without defeat dating back to late November.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri has repeatedly insisted that Juve are not in the title race and Morata was similarly evasive when asked about his team’s ambitions for the season.

“I’m of my own opinion, which is thinking about the next training session and the next match. We can’t think too much about that,” he told DAZN.
Sunday’s was far from a consummate performance from a team that was missing a host of players, including Paulo Dybala, Weston McKennie, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Denis Zakaria.
Juve’s only goal came thanks to a terrible mistake by Spezia goalkeeper Ivan Provedel, who fired a poor direct shot at Daniele Rugani.

The centre-back passed to Dusan Vlahovic, whose dismissal of Manuel Locatelli was followed by a quick pass to Morata, who pushed a low shot under Provedel.
Spezia responded in the second half and had two great chances to equalise, with Emmanuel Gyasi heading a great opportunity straight to Wojciech Szczesny five minutes after the break.
Szczesny had to do his best to stop Kevin Agudelo, the Polish keeper who shot out of his net with 10 minutes remaining to ensure that the Colombian’s point-blank shot did not give Spezia what would have been a deserved point.
Vlahovic’s replacement at Fiorentina, Krzysztof Piatek, scored his sixth goal since arriving in Florence in January in a 1-1 draw at home with Verona.
Piatek opened the scoring with a well-defined shot with nine minutes on the clock, but Gianluca Caprari leveled the score from the penalty spot 10 minutes later.
Lucas Torreira then lost two players for the hosts who are 10 points behind Juve and almost out of the Champions League race despite having one game to go.
Domenico Berardi continued his impressive season for Sassuolo with a pair of penalties in a 4-1 win against Venezia.

Italian winger Berardi struck from the penalty spot in the 17th and 71st minutes in an entertaining match in which Giacomo Raspadori opened the scoring in the second minute and Gianluca Scamacca scored another penalty just before half an hour.
Berardi has scored 12 times this league season and is also in double figures for assists in the best campaign of his career.
With Federico Chiesa out for the season, the 27-year-old will be in the thoughts of Italy manager Roberto Mancini ahead of the Azzurri’s crucial 2022 World Cup qualifying playoffs later this month.
Alessio Dionisi’s flamboyant Sassuolo sits in 10th place with 39 points after a victory that was not just a one-way win in the Venice lagoon.
Thomas Henry cut the deficit to two goals when he headed in his sixth of the season shortly after Scamacca scored, but the hosts squandered chances in a good period just after half-time and Berardi punished his extravagance.
Paolo Zanetti’s Venezia are third from bottom with 22 points, three behind Cagliari, who were beaten 3-0 by Lazio on Saturday.
Genoa is four points behind Venezia in 19th place after Alexander Blessin became the first Serie A manager to draw his first six games in charge following a goalless draw with Empoli.

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