Football

Allegri: Expect a tight race

The Serie A title race is far from over, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri warned after seeing his team lose 2-1 to Fiorentina yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Juventus travelled to Florence looking for their fifth consecutive victory since a shock 3-1 loss at Genoa at the end of November.

But, not for the first time this season, the Turin giants were exposed by a committed, battling performance by a host side.

Nikola Kalinic, the subject of a reported big-money move to Chinese Super League's Tianjin Quanjian, paved the way for a memorable win with a 37th-minute opener that was probably celebrated more in Rome and Napoli than Florence.

Milan Badelj added Fiorentina's second and, although Gonzalo Higuain reduced the arrears on 58 minutes, Juve couldn't muster an equaliser.

Juve's fourth defeat in 19 games left the champions with just a one-point lead on Roma, although the five-time consecutive champions have a game in hand.

Napoli are four points off the pace in third with Lazio a point further adrift.

With Roma, Napoli, Lazio and Inter all winning their games, the Old Lady of Turin are well aware a bid for a record sixth straight title could be littered with obstacles.

"This shows that the championship is far from finished," said Allegri, who saw midfield maestro Paulo Dybala spurn the chance to add to Higuain's 58th-minute strike when he ballooned over late on.

"Roma and Napoli are just behind us, so it could go right to the end.

"This (defeat) should remind us all that whenever it comes to playing Juventus, opposition teams give it more than 100 per cent." - AFP

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