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Cristiano Ronaldo not enough as Juventus’ title hopes collapse after shock defeat to Benevento

Juventus now trail Inter Milan by 10 points
Juventus now trail Inter Milan by 10 points
ANALYST
Modified 23 Mar 2021
Feature

Juventus have simply not been good enough this season and the latest evidence of this was laid bare on Sunday when they played against Benevento.

The Bianconeri’s mini-winning streak was brought to an end in the worst possible manner when they were defeated by Serie A’s 16th-placed team. For a club that is aiming to win the league, Juventus’ performance was utterly shocking.

Despite playing at home, Andrea Pirlo’s side struggled to create chances and resorted to passing the ball sideways. Benevento took advantage of Juventus’ lethargy, with Adolfo Gaich scoring what proved to be the winner.

This was a game that was there for the taking but the Bianconeri still managed to fluff their lines, as they’ve done in many games this season.

To put some perspective on how poor Juventus were, Benevento scored from their only shot on target in the 90 minutes of play.

Juventus’ title chances over

No team across Europe has dominated their domestic league like Juventus have done in Serie A. The Bianconeri have completely monopolized the Italian top flight, winning each of their last nine league titles.

However, everything eventually comes to an end and it seems the prospect of a 10th successive league title will not happen.

Sunday’s loss against Benevento has made it virtually impossible for Juventus to catch leaders Inter Milan with just 11 games to go.

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“What we needed was to stay calm and make better use of the flanks, but we made a lot of mistakes,” Pirlo said after the game, as quoted by Juventus.com.
“When the result is hanging in the balance, panic can start to set in and that wasn't the attitude required. We also needed a little extra desire to get the result, because there was a real opportunity for us to close the gap in the league.
“We have to change our mindset: we wear a jersey of huge importance, which must always be honoured. Our attitude has to be different in games like this.”

Juventus currently occupy third in Serie A – four points behind AC Milan and 10 points below Inter Milan – and it’ll take more than a miracle for them to win the league.

Pirlo in the spotlight

Pirlo's appointment was supposed to usher Juventus into a new era. The Bianconeri had become too stagnant and predictable under Max Allegri.

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However, very little has changed since the former midfielder took charge. Rather, things have gotten worse, with the Bianconeri exiting the Champions League in the Round of 16 stage.

With the club now on the verge of missing out on the Serie A title, it raises serious questions about Pirlo’s managerial nous. The former Italy international was handed the job when he had practically no experience in management.

And based on the results so far, he hasn’t justified why he deserves to stay. He may be given another season to redeem himself but the current campaign could go down as one of Juventus’ worst in the last decade.

Published 23 Mar 2021, 22:45 IST
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