Loss at Atalanta leaves Juventus at risk of missing CL

·3 min read

ROME — Forget about extending its record run of nine straight Serie A titles.

At this rate, Juventus may not even qualify for the Champions League.

Atalanta, the Italian league's ongoing Cinderella story, beat the Bianconeri 1-0 with a late goal from Ruslan Malinovskyi on Sunday to leapfrog Andrea Pirlo’s team into third place.

The defeat came on a day of reports that Juventus is part of a group of European heavyweights renewing threats to walk away from the Champions League and create a Super League.

Juventus dropped to fourth — which carries the final Champions League berth — two points behind Atalanta and remained three points ahead of Napoli, which can pull level if it beats Italian leader Inter Milan later.

Juventus has won only one of its last four matches and lost twice in that span — with the other defeat coming at home against promoted Benevento last month.

What’s more is that Atalanta now also holds the advantage over Juventus if a tiebreaker is needed. Head-to-head records are the first criteria used in Italy and the teams drew 1-1 in December.

Juventus was missing an injured Cristiano Ronaldo and produced few chances in Bergamo before Malinovskyi’s shot in the 87th minute took a major deflection off Alex Sandro and sent goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way.

It marked Atalanta’s first victory over Juventus in Serie A in more than two decades — since Feb. 2001.

It was just the latest in a series of exploits from Atalanta, which reached the quarterfinals of last season’s Champions League.

Juventus has failed to win all four Serie A matches that Ronaldo has missed this season, including two when he had the coronavirus and another when he was rested.

OWN-GOALS

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic suspended, an own-goal from highly touted Genoa striker Gianluca Scamacca proved the winner for AC Milan in a 2-1 victory.

Milan’s first home win in more than two months made sure the Rossoneri held onto second place.

Scamacca turned away when a corner kick sailed over the head of Mario Mandzukic and the ball ricocheted off his back and into Genoa's goal.

Ante Rebic had put Milan ahead early with a long-range half volley.

Mattia Destro then equalized for Genoa with a header following poor defending from Fikayo Tomori.

Lazio also got two own-goals in a 5-3 win over Benevento for its fifth straight victory, moving the sixth-place Roman club within four points of Juventus.

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi missed the game against his brother and coaching counterpart Filippo Inzaghi with the coronavirus.

Ciro Immobile scored twice -- the first was his 150th in Serie A -- and Joaquin Correa converted a penalty for Lazio, which also got own-goals from Fabio Depaoli and Lorenzo Montipo.

Also, Bologna beat promoted Spezia 4-1.

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Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf

Andrew Dampf, The Associated Press