Juventus were denied the chance of winning Serie A for a record eighth time in a row on Saturday, following a shock 2-1 defeat at relegation-threatened SPAL.
Kevin Bonifazi and Sergio Floccari struck as SPAL completed a most unlikely turnaround to claim three points in their battle to avoid the drop, making Juventus wait a while longer to be confirmed champions again.
Juve only needed a point to be certain of winning the league and Massimiliano Allegri made a whole host of changes, resting Cristiano Ronaldo, Federico Bernardeschi, Mario Mandzukic, Alex Sandro, Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chielliniahead of their Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Ajax.
But his selection gamble backfired after Moise Kean‘s 29th minute strike spurred SPAL into life. Kean found the back of the net for the fourth Serie A match in a row and a sixth in succession for club and country but his effort came against the run of play following a lively start from the home side.
And SPAL equalised on 49 minutes, with defender Bonifazi heading in from a corner, before Floccari completed the comeback 16 minutes from time when he swept home from 12 yards. SPAL faced a nervous wait while the Video Assistant Referee investigated a potential handball by Alessandro Murgia in the build up, before the goal was given.
Allegri responded by bringing on Bernardeschi from the substitutes’ bench but Juventus were left to rue a missed opportunity to wrap the title up early. The only consolation for the reigning champions is that they will win Serie A again if Napoli fail to beat Chievo on Sunday.
SPAL, meanwhile, moved up to 13th in the table with the three points — seven clear of the bottom three.
“We had a lot of young players and they did well, but above all the second goal showed a lack of experience,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia after the game.
“Kean was feeling a little tired, so I preferred to take him off. When he starts moving wide and doesn’t attack the goal as much, it means it’s time to get him off the field.
“He has different characteristics to [Mario] Mandzukic, but obviously having him in this shape is important and I’ll evaluate what to do on Tuesday.
Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho scored twice in seven minutes on Saturday to help his team to a nervous 2-1 victory over Mainz 05 that sent them provisionally back to the top of the Bundesliga.
Sancho’s goals were enough to lift Dortmund, who were dominant in the first half but inexplicably eased off after the break, to 66 points with five games left to play. They are two points ahead of champions Bayern Munich, who face Fortuna Duesseldorf on Sunday.
Sancho now has ten league goals of the season today, adding to his 13 assists.
Dortmund, eager to make amends for last week’s 5-0 demolition by Bayern, put in a whirlwind start and Mainz almost scored an own goal when Danny Latza deflected a Mario Gotze cutback onto the post in the sixth minute.
“We had to bounce back from last week. Last week didn’t go our way, Bayern got the three points,” Sancho said after the match. “We knew today that we had to get the three points. So we’ve been training hard this week and recovering well. I’m just happy that I got the two goals for the team and the three points.”
Jacob Bruun Larsen twice came close before Gotze tried it again in the 17th minute and found England international Sancho at the far post who drilled in for the lead.
The 19-year-old doubled the score in similar fashion in the 24th minute, firing in a Thomas Delaney assist.
Instead of scoring again, the hosts slackened after the break, allowing Mainz, who had hit the post on the stroke of halftime, to come forward.
“We knew today was going to be a tough game. Mainz have been playing well recently,” Sancho said. “We played well in the first half and the two goals were really important for us. In the second half, we really dropped [off]. We really have to learn how to keep the momentum in the second half and keep going.
The visitors hit the woodwork again with Karim Onisiwo in the 63rd minute and cut the deficit with Robin Quaison‘s deserved goal in the 83rd before Dortmund keeper Roman Buerki made a triple point-blank save in the 87th to protect Dortmund’s three points