After a miserable first half in Turin, in which the players looked more like participants in a mud wrestling match than a football game, Juventus and Udinese came to life after the restart. Claudio Marchisio kicked off the scoring with his first goal since the reverse fixture, when Juventus hammered Udinese 4-0 in September. Clearly Udinese have come a long way in the last few months, walking away from the Stadio Olimpico today with all three points after goals from Cristián Zapata and Alexis Sánchez.
The first half provided very little in the way of chances, with Juventus forcing the first save after 38 minutes of play. Fortunately for football fans, the second half provided many more sparks. Udinese took control of the match and dominated possession for the first fifteen minutes, which made it that much more surprising when the home side scored the first goal of the game. And what a goal! Marchisio's overhead kick left Samir Handanovič with nothing to do but watch as the ball sailed into the back of the net.
Udinese, red-hot, were not about to let a Juventus side widely described as "struggling" steal their thunder. Just seven minutes later, captain Antonio Di Natale sent in a stinging shot. Gianluigi Buffon managed the save, but the ball fell to the feet of Cristián Zapata in the center of the box, who merely had to poke the ball in the net to put Udinese level.
One point's never enough when a team senses three are possible, and Udinese could smell a win, or possibly it was simply the odor of the air of defeat that hung around the Juventus players. The last ten minutes were frantic, yet it seemed inevitable that the visitors would find the winner. And there it was, in the 85th, Alexis Sánchez combining with fellow Chilean Mauricio Isla to put the ball in the back of the net.
Shortly thereafter, a frustrated Juventus realized the only way to stop Sánchez (their mud trap ploy, a la Wolves in 1954 against Honvéd, worked for just 45 minutes) was to hack him down, and Leonardo Bonucci was handed a straight red for a late challenge. Sánchez himself was sent off in the 88th minute, picking up a second yellow after a poor challenge. But even with four minutes extra time, Juventus failed to create a chance, appearing resigned to their loss.
According to Opta, the 19 goals Juventus has conceded at home is the highest for any Serie A side. Now that Udinese have pushed the Old Lady down to seventh place, surely something has to give?