Ronaldo-less Juve drop more points

Serie A

Juventus missed the chance to move second in Serie A after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Benevento on Saturday evening.

Bianconeri rested talisman Cristiano Ronaldo after a hectic month and that meant striker Alvaro Morata had a new partner upfront, Paulo Dybala.

Juventus were threatening in the early stages and Morata eventually opened the scoring in the 21st minute after turning past defenders and struck his shot into the bottom corner after a long ball by Federico Chiesa.

The game was opening up after the half-hour mark, with Benevento getting into the game with promising counter-attacks but they could not yet carve out clear openings.

Pasquale Schiattarella came close to getting the equaliser for the hosts in first-half stoppages after getting past two defenders and curled his strike well but his effort was parried onto the post by shot-stopper Wojciech Szczesny.

Gaetano Letizia eventually levelled matters for Filippo Inzaghi's charges just a minute after getting a rebound from the resultant corner and fired a brilliant volley across the goal and past Szczesny.

Chances were hard to come by in the early stages of the second stanza but Morata came close to restoring the lead for Andrea Pirlo's troops seven minutes from the break with a header from a corner that missed the near post slightly wide.

Pirlo refreshed the side with a change just after the hour-mark, as Dejan Kulusevski came on for Aaron Ramsey and in the last 20 minutes Federico Bernardeschi replaced Chiesa for the same reason.

The game was getting scrappy in the closing minutes, with neither side going for an all-out attack although Benevento were playing with numbers behind the ball and shot-stopper Lorenzo Montipo denied Dybala the winner in the last four minutes as Inzaghi's men frustrated the Old Lady to a share of the spoils.