Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Andrea Belotti was the derby star for Torino with the leveller in Friday’s hard-fought 1-1 draw at Juventus which hands Atalanta the advantage in the Champions League race.
Injury-plagued Belotti swept home Torino’s equaliser in the 62nd minute of his first start since late November.
The draw means that Juve, who took the lead in the 13th minute through Matthijs de Ligt, can lose their spot in the top four if Atalanta win at Fiorentina on Sunday afternoon.
Atalanta are three points behind Massimiliano Allegri’s fourth-placed side but have a better head-to-head record and goal difference, as well as having a game in hand.
Allegri also has the worry of Paulo Dybala’s condition ahead of Juve’s Champions League trip to Villarreal on Tuesday, as the Argentina forward left the field 10 minutes before Belotti’s goal.
Juve were pushed back into their own area in the opening moments but were unlucky not to take the lead in the 11th minute when after a blistering counter-attack Adrien Rabiot fired an angled drive just wide.
The hosts had their tails up after that attack which swept the length of the pitch, and soon after De Ligt thumped home a powerful header from Juan Cuadrado’s inswinging corner.
Torino had won just one of their previous 31 derbies but were not cowed by going behind and continued to push forward, only to find De Ligt and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in solid enough form to keep the final ball from being dangerous.
The roles were reversed at the start of the second half, with Juve on the front foot even after Dybala was replaced by Weston McKennie.
However Belotti, who according to Italian media has refused an extension to his current Torino contract which expires at the end of the season, snatched a deserved point for the away side with a true striker’s finish from Josip Brekalo’s cross.
Juve laid seige to the Torino goal but the away side held firm and ensured they left the Allianz Stadium with a point.
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