Juventus' hopes of a tenth successive Serie A title received a hammer blow after Benevento ran out 1-0 winners in Turin.
Filippo Inzaghi's side, who hadn't won in 13 games, fully deserved the result after a battling display in defence and attack. His former AC Milan team-mate Andrea Pirlo missed the opportunity to leapfrog their old club and put pressure on Inter at the top.
Chances were few and far between, but the visitors certainly came with intent. They pressed high and made life uncomfortable for the Juve defence. Gianluca Lapadula was particularly threatening, but he and Arhur Ionita failed to convert Benevento's best chance of the first half when Perparim Hetemaj whipped in a low cross from the right, which evaded both.
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Juve, badly missing absent wing-backs Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado, lacked conviction. Cristiano Ronaldo had fired wide in the early minutes and Alvaro Morata was denied by Lorenzo Montipo, but they struggled to make an impact. With ten minutes of the first half remaining, the referee awarded the Bianconeri a penalty after Daam Foulon was adjudged to have handled in the area. After checking the VAR monitor, he changed his mind.
The second half saw more of the same from the sluggish hosts, but they almost went ahead when Kulusevsky's pass on the break was deflected goalwards by Federico Barba, but Montipo was alert to push the ball away. Two minutes later, Adolfo Gaich put Benevento ahead after Arthur played a blind pass across his own box. He finished well on the turn.
Panicked, Juve huffed and puffed particularly through Ronaldo, who was denied by Montipo. Danilo squandered their best chance, firing over the bar from close range in the final minute of normal time.
TALKING POINT - Juventus lack intensity in slack defeat
The pressure on Pirlo and Ronaldo in particular had been building up since the Champions League defeat to FC Porto. Even a 3-1 win over Cagliari, in which the latter scored a first half hat-trick, wasn't enough for that to subside. With Inter's game suspended due to a COVID-19 outbreak, there was an opportunity to make a statement here, but the absence of both Alex Sandro and Cuadrado proved costly on an embarrassing afternoon.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Lorenzo Montipo (Benevento)
Perhaps it is cliched to say the underdog winners' goalkeeper was the standout, but Montipo deserves the award. Defensively, Benevento kept their nerve as the game went on - having carried an attacking threat earlier - and he made a string of crucial saves, particularly from Barba, his team-mate, and Ronaldo.
Juventus: Szczesny 6, Bernardeschi 5, De Ligt 5, Bonucci 5, Danilo 5, Rabiot 5, Arthur 4, Kulusevski 5, Chiesa 5, Ronaldo 5, Morata 5 Substitutes: McKennie 5, Bentancur 5
Benevento: Montipo 9, Tuia 7, Barba 7, Caldirola 7, Improta 7, Hetemaj 8, Viola 7, Ionita 8, Foulon 7, Gaich 8, Lapadula 7 Substitutes: Tello 5, Caprari 5, Dabo N/A, Di Serio N/A
35' - NO PENALTY! - Penalty given for a possible handball against Foulon. Referee checks the VAR monitor and changes his decision. Corner to Juventus.
69' - GOAL! Benevento lead! Gaich turns and finishes in the area after Arthur's blind pass across his own goal.
89' - OVER! Danilo blasts over after Ronaldo's shot is deflected into his path. What a moment!
Juventus lost just their second home league game this season.
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