Juventus go top of Serie A after dramatic finish at Monza

Juventus go top of Serie A after dramatic finish at Monza

Juventus ended Monza’s unbeaten home record in Serie A this season after a thrilling finale crowned with a 94th-minute winner on Friday, as they leapfrogged Inter Milan into top spot.

Juventus’ 2-1 victory was an uninspiring affair bookended by moments of great drama in the first 15 and last five minutes, with a 91st-minute Valentin Carboni equalizer, that looked to have saved Monza a draw, before Federico Gatti struck to wrestle back the spoils three minutes later.

Juventus players celebrate during a Serie A match against Monza in Monza, Italy, December 1, 2023. /CFP

Juventus players celebrate during a Serie A match against Monza in Monza, Italy, December 1, 2023. /CFP

Nine minutes into the meeting, Georgios Kyriakopoulos pulled on Federico Chiesa’s shirt in the box and the referee deemed it enough to be a penalty.

Dusan Vlahovic’s resulting weak penalty was saved down low to his right by Michele Di Gregorio, who then leapt to his feet to fling himself back across goal and somehow claw the follow-up effort away from the face of his own net and behind for a corner.

The astonishing double-save must have still been on the minds of his teammates as Rabiot benefitted from slack marking as the corner came in to power an unstoppable header beyond the Monza keeper in the 12th minute.

Juventus nearly doubled the lead just after the half-hour mark when another corner found its way through to Gatti, but the defender could only send his effort over the bar on the stretch.

The hosts dominated possession in the second half, but never really troubled Wojciech Szczesny in the Juventus goal as the clocked counted down to a narrow win for the 36-times Italian champions.

However, the match sparked back into life when substitute Carboni swung in a cross-shot that just evaded its target in Dany Mota and snuck in at the back post.

The euphoric scenes in the ground were cut abruptly short in the fourth minute of added time when Gatti atoned for his earlier error by thumping in an emphatic winner after teeing himself up via his own fluffed shot following Rabiot’s burst on the right wing.

Now trailing their main title rivals by one point, Inter Milan can reclaim first place when they travel south to take on current champions Napoli on Sunday.

Elsewhere in Europe, Reims downed Strasbourg 2-1 in France’s Ligue 1, Las Palmas beat Getafe 2-0 in Spain’s La Liga, and Koln beat Darmstadt 1-0 in the German Bundesliga. 

(With input from AFP)

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