Juventus struggle to beat Cagliari 3-2

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/footballgeneric3.jpg' class='caption'> Juventus needed a late winner from Giorgio Chiellini to beat Cagliari 3-2 in the Serie A on Sunday, and AS Roma cruised to a 3-0 victory over Siena.

Updated: September 04, 2007 13:31 IST
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Juventus needed a late winner from Giorgio Chiellini to beat Cagliari 3-2 in the Serie A on Sunday, and AS Roma cruised to a 3-0 victory over Siena.

Chiellini scored with a diving header in the 90th minute after Pasquale Foggia had twice equalised for Cagliari from the penalty spot. David Trezeguet and Alessandro Del Piero got the Bianconeri's other second-half goals.

"This team wins like the great Juve: with determination and character," Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri said. "The guys were really great because they gave all that they had."

At Stadio Olimpico, Alberto Aquilani scored his second goal in as many games with a swerving shot in the 17th minute to put Roma 1-0 ahead. Newly signed Ludovic Giuly and Francesco Totti added two more in the final eight minutes.

Totti was awarded the Golden Boot award before the match as the most prolific scorer in Europe last season with 26 goals.

Juventus and Roma have a maximum six points after two rounds of Italy's top division. They could be joined atop the standings by AC Milan, which faces Fiorentina on Monday, three days after beating Sevilla 3-1 to win the European Super Cup for the fifth time.

In the late game, Sampdoria held Lazio to a 0-0 draw, despite being reduced to 10 men in the 82nd when Reto Ziegler was sent off for a second yellow card.

Paolo Sammarco almost won the game for Sampdoria in the 90th following a counterattack, but the midfielder's chip sailed just over the crossbar.

Also Sunday, newly promoted Napoli put last week's loss to Cagliari behind it with a 5-0 rout of Udinese. Former Juventus forward Marcelo Zalayeta scored twice and Maurizio Domizzi, Ivan Lavezzi and Roberto Carlos Sosa added the others.

Fabrizio Miccoli marked his return to the Serie A after two seasons at Benfica with goals in the 23rd and 37th minutes to help Palermo beat Livorno 4-2. Leandro Rinaudo and Amauri also scored first-half goals for the Sicilian club.

Elsewhere, Atalanta beat Parma 2-0, Catania was held to a 0-0 draw by newly promoted Genoa, and Francesco Cozza scored a 90th-minute equalizer to help Reggina draw 2-2 with Torino.

On Saturday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored two goals to help Inter Milan beat Empoli 2-0 and record its first victory of the season.

A week after routing Livorno 5-1, Juventus was lucky to beat a muscular Cagliari.

The Sardinian team outplayed Juve in the first half, with Foggia in particular troubling the defence.

Del Piero missed an open net in the 45th but otherwise Juventus rarely threatened Cagliari before the break.

Ranieri sent on Mauro Camoranesi for Hasan Salihamidzic in the 50th and the Italy midfielder made an immediate impact. He inadvertently set up Trezeguet's 99th Serie A goal with a deflected header in the 54th, and chipped Cagliari goalkeeper Marco Fortin in the 76th to give Del Piero the easiest of tap-ins.

"When (Camoranesi) came on, he lit us up," Ranieri said.

Cagliari could have had a third penalty in the 69th, when Chiellini brought down midfielder Daniele Conti in the area, but the referee changed his mind after consulting with the linesman, who indicated that the defender had got the ball first.

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also made an excellent save off Paulo Bianco's point-blank header three minutes later.

"This defeat grates because we deserved at least a draw," Cagliari coach Marco Giampaolo said. "Juventus is very experienced and of a superior level but Cagliari deserved more."

Juventus' Jonathan Zebina and Cagliari's Cristian Del Grosso were sent off in the final nine minutes after picking up their second yellow cards. Zebina appeared to slap a steward as he left the field.

"I didn't see it," Ranieri said.

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