Juventus staggered to a 1-0 win away to bottom-placed Hellas Verona courtesy of an Irene Lotti own-goal on Sunday.
The 27-year-old midfielder turned the ball in her own net when she tried to block a cross from Juventus forward Andrea Stašková from inside the area on the left in the 53rd minute.
Juventus coach Joe Montemurro made five changes to the team which drew one-all with Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia Femminile Quarter-Final last weekend, benching forwards Lina Hurtig and Barbara Bonansea in the process.
“In the first half of the match, Verona really put us in difficulty . . . They have interesting players and an equally interesting way of playing. We have to go back to playing our game and find the level we had before Christmas”
It was a difficult afternoon for the defending champions, who finished the match with 10 women after French midfielder Annahita Zamanian was shown a red card after receiving a second yellow in the 65thminute.
Montemurro, in his post-match conference, lamented playing with 10 women but praised his troops for not conceding any goals.
"We suffered a bit with 10 [women] on the field, but the performance was good; we dominated with the ball and created many opportunities, taking home the three points without conceding a goal. This was important and it was also important to give Grosso more minutes to play and to get [Linda] Sembrant and [Vanessa] Panzeri back on the pitch," the gaffer was quoted as saying by the club website.
Juventus have lately suffered a dip in form and Montemurro was quoted elsewhere saying that the Bianconere need to go back to the form which they had last year.
“In the first half of the match, Verona really put us in difficulty . . . They have interesting players and an equally interesting way of playing. We have to go back to playing our game and find the level we had before Christmas.
“There is still a lot to play for in the league, [and] we are happy to be back playing away. We want to go on and continue with our path in the league”, Montemurro told Juventus News24.
The win took the Bianconere to 40 points after 14 matches whilst Verona sunk deeper into the abyss with their 13th defeat of the season.
The Turin side play Inter Milan at home next weekend in the reverse fixture of the Coppa Italia Quarter-Final having drawn one-all in the first leg away a fortnight ago.
“Cup matches are direct clashes, there are more emotions [involved]. Obviously, it is an important match for us, we did not show a good performance [in the previous match], but we managed to score goals in some way and we hope to qualify here in Turin next week,” he added.
Elsewhere, AS Roma made it eight straight wins when they saw off Pomigliano 5-2 at home at the Stadio Tre Fontane on Saturday.
Forward Deborah Salvatori opened the scoring for the visitors from the penalty spot on 23 minutes before Roma midfielder Annamaria Serturini made it 1-1 just three minutes later.
Former LSK Kvinner midfielder Emilie Haavi made it 2-1 for the hosts two minutes into first half extra-time and Roma went for the break in the lead.
“We knew we were going to suffer against one of the strongest teams in the league. We remained in the game but were condemned by two mistakes on the third and fourth goals . . .”
Half-time substitute midfielder Victoria Della Peruta made it 2-2 for the visitors barely a minute after coming on for forward Deborah Salvatori, before Haavi completed her brace in the 58th minute to make it 3-2 for the hosts.
Forward Paloma Lazaro made it 4-2 for Roma with a strike in the 70th minute before she completed her brace four minutes later to make it 5-2 for the hosts.
The defeat was Pomigliano’s eighth of the season, a result which left them a staggering 24 points away from log leaders Juventus.
Pomigliano coach Domenico Panico, however, said that he was happy with the performance and that his troops had shown a soul.
“We knew we were going to suffer against one of the strongest teams in the league. We remained in the game but were condemned by two mistakes on the third and fourth goals, but we wanted to make a good impression and I think we succeeded”, Panico said after the match.
“There are other games in which we must try to score points. The gap is real, but I am satisfied because we have shown a soul. I am happy, I think it was also a good match and we tried to change something. The pace was very high, their changes made the difference, but we have shown that we are there”.
Fiorentina were stunned by Napoli with a 2-0 defeat at home at the Stadio Gino Bozzi on Sunday.
Spanish midfielder Sara Tui opened the scoring for Napoli with a strike three minutes after half-time before Argentine forward Soledad Jaimes made it 2-0 in the 69th minute as the visitors completed back-to-back league wins over Fiorentina this season.
The win was Napoli’s third of the season and it took them to 11 points with eight matches to go whilst the defeat was Fiorentina’s eighth of the campaign, ensuring that they remain on 14 points.
Fiorentina coach Patrizia Panico lamented the result in a post-match conference, saying that they now needed to go back to the drawing board.
“I saw a Fiorentina which created a lot and who never took any risks behind. I saw a team that shot the ball well, that attacked in the opposing half of the pitch for 90 minutes. But I saw a Fiorentina that wasted a lot; not bad.
“Now we have to go and see what our mistakes were and where we have to work on. We have to insist on wanting to improve and wanting to become a [formidable] team”, Panico told the Italian media.
Fiorentina play Empoli at home next weekend in the reverse fixture of the Coppa Italia Quarter-Final having drawn nil-all in the first leg away a fortnight ago.
“It is clear that the match against Empoli will be difficult, but that is how all of them are. We have to work on wanting to get the passage to the Italian Cup. We need to be a little less beautiful and more incisive”, she added.
Sassuolo thumped Sampdoria 3-1 away on Saturday to keep their title hopes alive with eight matches to go.
Forward Haley Bugeja opened the scoring with a strike two minutes into the first half before midfielder Kamila Dubcová doubled the lead on 40 minutes. Juventus on-loan forward Sofia Cantore made it 3-0 three minutes later and the teams went for half-time.
The hosts pulled one back through 22-year-old midfielder Bianca Fallico in the 67th minute to make it 3-1 but it was not enough to stop them from slumping to their seventh defeat of the season.
The hosts finished the match with 10 women after 62ndminute substitute midfielder Alice Benoit collected two yellow cards in four minutes. The 25-year-old Frenchwoman got bookings for fouls in the 81stand 85th minutes respectively.
Sassuolo have now amassed 34 points in 14 matches and are third on the log behind Roma on head-to-head being just six points away from log leaders Juventus.
Sampdoria, on the other hand, are on 19 points having recorded six wins and one draw in the same number of matches.
AC Milan edged relegation bound Lazio 3-1 at the Centro Sportivo Peppini Vismara in Milan on Saturday to maintain pressure on the title race.
The visitors opened the scoring through 21-year-old forward Noemi Visentin on seven minutes before former Fiorentina striker Martina Piemonte equalised for the hosts on 39 minutes.
The match looked set to end in a stalemate before Milan midfielder Nina Stapelfeldt made it 2-1 with a strike two minutes before the end of regulation time. Danish defender Sara Thrige made it 3-1 four minutes into second half extra-time as Maurizio Ganz’s side collected the all-important three points.
AC Milan remain on fourth place with 31 points having registered 10 wins, one draw and three defeats whilst Lazio have recorded three points from one win in 14 matches and remain 11th on the standings.
Inter Milan edged Empoli 3-2 at the Felice Chinetti Stadium on Sunday.
Inter forward Tatiana Bonetti opened the scoring with a strike on 13 minutes before Cameroonian forward Ajara Njoya doubled the lead six minutes later. French midfielder Ghoutia Karchouni made it 3-0 on 29 minutes before 20-year-old Dutch striker Chanté-Mary Dompig pulled one back for the visitors to make it 3-1 at the stroke of half-time.
Forward Isotta Nocchi pulled another one back for Empoli in second half extra-time to make it 3-2.
The win was Inter’s ninth of the season whilst the defeat was Empoli’s eighth. Inter have amassed 29 points from nine wins and two draws in 14 matches whilst Empoli have registered a mere 12 points from three wins and three draws in the same number of outings.
RESULTS (Saturday): AC Milan 3 – 1 Lazio; AS Roma 5 – 2; Sampdoria 1 – 3 Sassuolo;
RESULTS (Sunday): Fiorentina 0 – 2 Napoli; Hellas Verona 0 – 1 Juventus; Inter Milan 3 – 2 Empoli
Serie A Femminile returns on February 26th after the Coppa Italia and international breaks.