Rugani scores late to help Juventus end winless run with 3-2 victory over Frosinone

AP , Sunday 25 Feb 2024

Daniele Rugani scored deep in stoppage time to help Juventus end its winless run with a 3-2 victory over lowly Frosinone — and avoid league leader Inter Milan extending its already considerable advantage on Sunday.

Juventus Carlos Alcaraz, centre right, and Frosinone s Luca Mazzitelli fight for the ball during the Serie A soccer match between Juventus and Frosinone at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, north west Italy, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. AP


The in-form Dušan Vlahović had already scored twice in the first half, thanks to two assists from United States international Weston McKennie, and he also turned provider late on as Juventus snapped a run of four matches without a win.

Second-placed Juventus moved to within six points of Inter, which has played two fewer matches and visits relegation-threatened Lecce later. AC Milan was playing Atalanta later.

It was a fourth straight loss for Frosinone and left it three points above the drop zone.

Juventus was looking to get back to winning ways after only picking up two points from its past four matches.

And things looked to be going to plan when it took the lead with less than three minutes on the clock. McKennie controlled a ball over the top and crossed from the right for Vlahović to slot into the far bottom corner.

However, Walid Cheddira headed in the equaliser 11 minutes later and the visitors turned the match around completely in the 27th when Marco Brescianini fired in after a great through ball from Emanuele Valeri.

Juventus levelled five minutes later as McKennie controlled a cross from Andrea Cambiaso and found Vlahović, who curled into the bottom left corner for his 15th league goal of the season and his ninth in seven matches.

McKennie was forced off three minutes from time with a left shoulder injury after landing awkwardly.

Just as it appeared Juventus was heading for another winless match, the ever-dangerous Vlahović nodded on a corner to the back post for Rugani to fire home from the tightest of angles in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Coaching debut 

Zito Luvumbo also netted late for relegation-threatened Cagliari to snatch a 1-1 draw at defending champion Napoli and spoil coach Francesco Calzona's Serie A debut.

Napoli had appeared to be heading for a first win in four matches after Victor Osimhen was left completely unmarked to head in a cross in the 66th minute before Luvumbo leveled in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

In another blow, Osimhen limped off six minutes from time seemingly injured and will now be a doubt for next week's matches against Sassuolo and Juventus.

Osimhen had only just returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, where he helped Nigeria reach the final. His first match back was Wednesday's 1-1 draw against Barcelona in the Champions League — where he also scored.

That was Calzona’s first match in charge after replacing the fired Walter Mazzarri on Monday.

Calzona, who is also coach of the Slovakia national team, had never managed at club level although he had two spells as a Napoli assistant.

Napoli remained ninth, while Cagliari moved level with Hellas Verona and Sassuolo, which is 17th and in the last spot above the relegation zone.

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