Andrea Belotti marked his long-awaited return with the equalising goal as Torino held Juventus in the Derby della Mole.
Matthijs De Ligt’s header separated the sides at the break, but Torino roared back with Belotti volleying the Granata level just past the hour-mark, which was enough to earn his side a fully deserved point at the Allianz Stadium.
Having absorbed a lot of pressure in the opening stages, Juventus took the lead somewhat against the run of play when the unmarked De Ligt attacked Juan Cuadrado’s corner delivery at the far post and his downward header squeezed past goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic at his near post.
Torino asked questions aplenty of Juventus’ makeshift defence but failed to translate their endeavour into goals.
That was until the 62nd-minute when Belotti – making his first start since November 28 – restored parity with a volley from Josip Brekalo’s cross that Wojciech Szczesny perhaps should have kept out.
Juventus lost Paulo Dybala to yet another injury – his fifth of the season – prior to Torino’s equaliser and they lacked creativity without the Argentina international, as they toiled to a second consecutive draw. In fact, Torino looked the more likely to grab the winner but with Belotti tiring, they just couldn’t get over the line.
Massimilano Allegri’s side remain fourth, moving three points above fifth-placed Atalana, but their rivals for a Champions League spot have played two games less. Torino stay 10th as they end a two-game losing run.
Juventus now turn their attention to the last-16 Champions League first-leg tie at Villarreal on Tuesday night.
TALKING POINT – FRUSTRATION FOR JUVE AS DEFENSIVE PROBLEMS GROW
Allegri will see this as a missed opportunity for Juventus, who fail to make up any ground on the top-three. There had been suggestions the Old Lady could mount a title challenge after a recent run of good form, but they will be left sweating on their top-four status ahead of this weekend’s fixtures, with Atalanta in action at Fiorentina on Sunday.
With Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini already ruled out through injury, Juventus were dealt a blow when fellow defender Daniele Rugani picked up a knock in the warm-up. To make matters worse, his replacement Luca Pellegrini was forced off at half-time with a knee problem.
Belotti must have been rubbing his hands together and it almost felt like it was written in the script that he would be on the score-sheet. He duly took the one opportunity that fell his way but as a team Torino will be wondering how they didn’t win this game and end Juventus’ seven-year unbeaten streak in the Turin derby.
MAN OF THE MATCH – ANDREA BELOTTI (TORINO)
At times it didn’t feel like the 28-year-old was fully fit and that he was playing on adrenaline, but he provided the crucial moment in the game. Not only that, but he also helped to link Torino’s attacks and defended from the front as the visitors’ high-press proved effective.
Gleison Bremer was like a rock in the heart of Torino’s defence and deserves a mention.
Juventus: Szczesny 6, Cuadrado 6, De Ligt 7, Pellegrini 5, Alex Sandro 5, Zakaria 5, Locatelli 5, Rabiot 6, Dybala 6, Vlahovic 5, Morata 5.. subs: Arthur 5, Kean 4, McKennie 5.
Torino: Milinkovic-Savic 6, Djidji 6, Bremer 8, Rodriguez 6, Singo 5, Lukic 6, Mandragora 7, Vojvoda 6, Pobega 6, Brekalo 7, Belotti 8*.. subs: Pjaca 5, Sanarbia N/A, Buongiorno N/A, Ansaldo N/A.
12′ – SO CLOSE! Juventus almost score with their first effort on goal! A rapid counter-attack sets Rabiot behind the Torino defence. But he gets too much bend on his shot and fails to find the bottom corner he was searching for as he drags it wide.
13′ – GOAL! JUVENTUS 1-0 TORINO (MATTHIJS DE LIGT): Against the run of play, Juventus take the lead! The unmarked De Ligt attacks a corner delivery at the back post and he squeezes it past the goalkeeper with a downward header.
62′ – GOAL! JUVENTUS 1-1 TORINO (ANDREA BELOTTI): It had to be him! On his first start since November 28, Belotti has restored parity! Brekalo drives to the by-line and stands up a cross. Belotti is afforded a couple of yards and levels matters with a volley that Szczesny should perhaps have saved!
65′ – SHOT! The momentum is with Torino now as they push for a second! Mandagora gets plenty of power behind his effort and Szczesny does well to push it behind for a corner.