Juventus have endured a turbulent season off the pitch, and things took another turn as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to Monza at the Allianz Stadium on Matchday 20 of Serie A, further denting hopes of securing qualification for European football next term, whilst the visitors completed a double for the season over their illustrious hosts.
Reeling from the 15-point deduction handed down to them earlier this month for capital gains fraud, the Bianconeri were in desperate need of victory to claw their way back up the table, having started the day in 12th place.
Yet they came up against a slick Monza side who looked dangerous from the off, with Gianluca Caprari seeing an early goal disallowed, and Patrick Ciurria and Dany Mota firing them two goals ahead in the first half. The victory saw the new boys move above Juventus in the table.
Monza worthy winners
Monza looked to have raced into an early lead when Caprari collected a Mattia Pessina pass and drilled into the bottom corner, but a VAR check saw the forward’s strike chalked off.
However, Juventus did not heed the warning and with only 17 minutes played, a throw in from the left was quickly switched to Pepin, and his sumptuous through ball was drilled home by Ciurria.
Just as the hosts were looking to force their way back in before halftime, Monza doubled their lead as Carlos Augusto stole possession and mazed his way forward from the halfway line, before threading Mota through with a reverse pass to round Wojciech Szczesny and score.
Juventus weren’t without chances of their own in the first half, with Federico Gatti seeing a good effort deflected wide and Moise Kean squandering an opportunity, but did not look like testing Michele Di Gregorio.
Juventus fightback denied by Di Gregorio
The Bianconeri did at least step it up in the second half, with Angel Di Maria and Arkadiusz Milik going close, and the hosts dominating the ball.
Di Gregorio was called into action late on with a stunning save to deny Di Maria’s thunderous effort from a corner, and the goalkeeper was on hand to see off a late Bianconeri onslaught.
Another excellent stop denied Adrien Rabiot, with Gleison Bremer heading in from an offside position and seeing his goal disallowed.
Juventus facing more turbulence
Sluggish and laboured when faced with a bright Monza attack, there was plenty to cause concern for Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri. The Bianconeri side of his first stint at the club would not have found themselves going into halftime two goals down to a newly promoted team, but even if they had, a reaction would have inevitable.
Yet this current iteration of Juventus appear to lack the spark of the dominant unit of the past decade, and whilst circumstances have changed, events on and off the pitch are casting a dark cloud over the Allianz Stadium.
With the fear of more punishment to come, Juventus need all the points they can get but were easily carved apart by Monza, with Carlos Augusto barely breaking his stride to skip through a series of non-tackles before teeing up Mota for the second goal.
Indeed, it took until the final half hour for the Bianconeri to apply the pressure that should have been there from the start.
To add injury to insult, just as Dusan Vlahovic made his long-awaited return from a muscle strain the Bianconeri lost fellow striker Milik to a thigh issue.