25.02.2024 17:52 h

Rugani saves Juve, Napoli held at death

Daniele Rugani saved Juventus with a last-gasp strike in Sunday's 3-2 home win over Frosinone which ended a worrying winless streak, while another added-time strike gave Cagliari a 1-1 draw with Napoli.

Defender Rugani forced home the decisive goal from a tight angle in the fifth and final minute of stoppage time in Turin to cut the gap between Juve and league leaders Inter Milan to six points.

Hosts Juve, who hadn't won in four before this weekend, looked set for another embarrassing result after goals from Walid Cheddira and Marco Brescianini cancelled out Dusan Vlahovic's first-half brace.

But Rugani managed to get his boot on Vlahovic's flick-on from a corner and get Juve going back in the right direction.

"I'm really happy because a goal like that in the last minute, I couldn't have asked for more. I'm happy to have the team win. Let's take the positive and go again," said Rugani to Sky Sport.

"I realised where the ball was going, I stretched for it and I managed to reach it."

Sunday's win made Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri the first in Serie A history to get more than a thousand points, his total now at 1,002 according to statistics provider Opta.

Inter can re-establish their nine-point lead later on Sunday when they face Lecce.

Leaders Inter could go into next weekend's fixtures a full 12 points ahead of Juve as they also have a game in hand against in-form Atalanta on Wednesday.

Rugani's goal also gave Juve a five-point cushion between them and AC Milan who host Atalanta at the San Siro in Sunday's late match.

Frosinone are 16th and three points above the relegation zone after a fourth straight defeat for Eusebio Di Francesco's leaky side, with 14 goals conceded in that run.

The away team played well and were briefly leading when Brescianini rifled in a brilliant finish in the 27th minute, only for Vlahovic to level with his second of the day five minutes later.

"The late goal is a huge shame, things are not going our way and it's a real source of regret," said Di Francesco to Sky.

"Every match there is regret about the result. It's a huge disappointment."

Victor Osimhen's second goal in a matter of days wasn't enough to reignite Napoli's hopes of European football as Zito Luvumbo struck in the 96th minute to snatch a draw for Cagliari.

Nigeria forward Osimhen looked to have given Francesco Calzona a win in his first league match in charge of the ailing Italian champions when he nodded home Giacomo Raspadori's cross in the 66th minute.

Instead Napoli stay ninth, four points behind Roma who are in the Europa Conference League spot ahead of the capital club's match with Torino on Monday, and 11 behind fourth-placed Bologna.

Osimhen, who netted Napoli's goal in their 1-1 Champions League draw with Barcelona on Wednesday, also hit the post as he impresses on his return from the Africa Cup of Nations as a losing finalist.

"We had chances at the end to close out the match and we didn't take them. But at least we were organised," said Calzona to DAZN.

"The problem is mental. There's nothing wrong with the team physically, we saw that on Wednesday and it was the same today... It's going to take time because you can't solve these problems from one day to the next."

Cagliari would have lept out of the drop zone with a win, but although Claudio Ranieri's team remain second-from-bottom they are level on 20 points with 17th-placed Sassuolo who host Napoli on Wednesday.