Juventus and Udinese draw blank


Juventus missed the chance to pull nine points clear of Roma at the top of Serie A as they were held to a goalless draw at Udinese. The reigning champions created the better opportunities in a battle between two sets of Bianconeri in Friuli, but Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Morata all suffered off-days in front of goal. Second-placed Scudetto challengers Roma had laboured to a 1-1 draw with Empoli on Saturday night, so the single point taken edged Massimiliano Allegri's Juve into a respectable seven-point lead. The visitors would not play at their incisive best during the first half but they would enjoy the better chances. Tevez burst into the box when put through by Llorente in the 18th minute but the Argentinian's shot on the turn fizzed just over the bar. Llorente was unmarked as he rose to head the ball from Andrea Pirlo's pinpoint corner before the half-hour mark, yet his finish shaved paint off a post with Orestis Karnezis rooted to the spot. A few moments earlier Udinese had bared their teeth with Cyril Thereau racing into a one-on-one with Gianluigi Buffon. The Juve goalkeeper would save with his palms, thus negating the danger, but he was soon under threat again when the second half began. This time it was Thomas Heurtaux who lay in wait with the ball bouncing around the Juve box – Buffon did well to push it away from his goal line. Allegri's men soon wrested back control of proceedings and Roberto Pereyra rattled the angle of post and bar after connecting with Llorente's knock-down. Juve substitute Morata, on for fellow Spaniard Llorente, nearly made an instant impact as he controlled the ball with his chest in the box but the final product was lacking. The former Real Madrid striker then should have done better with Stephan Lichtsteiner's cross but he instead scuffed his volley straight into Karnezis' arms. Udinese had been on the back foot for a while yet they sprang a surprise in the 83rd minute with Antonio Di Natale blazing a fierce right-footed shot just over when the ball fell to him in the Juve area. Tevez enjoyed a better opportunity when Paul Pogba supplied him a minute later, but he whipped his effort past the post, meaning Juve had to settle for a share of the points.