TURIN, Feb 13 ― Juventus' title hopes suffered a blow in a 1-0 home defeat by lowly Udinese in Serie A today after defender Lautaro Giannetti scored in the first half to leave Massimiliano Allegri's side without a win in three games.
Juve are second on 53 points, seven adrift of Inter Milan, who have a game in hand, and a point ahead of AC Milan.
Inter won 4-2 at AS Roma on Saturday while third-placed Milan earned a 1-0 win over visiting champions Napoli on Sunday.
“We could have done better,” Allegri told DAZN. “In the first half we played a good game technically but when you have the opportunity you have to score.
“The ambition of keeping up with Inter was important, but the Nerazzurri were built to have the splendid season they are having.
“Juventus have started a different path two years ago and the primary objective is to return to the Champions League.”
Juve were the better team, with Federico Chiesa and Arkadiusz Milik up front in Dusan Vlahovic's absence as the Serbia forward sat out the match with a thigh issue.
But the visitors took the lead against the run of play in the 25th minute when Giannetti capitalised on a defensive error to net on the half-volley from close range after a free kick.
“He is a silent leader, he speaks little and hits a lot,” Udinese coach Gabriele Cioffi told Sky Sport.
“He brought a lot to our dressing room in terms of serenity and management. Exactly what we were missing, because we are a young team.”
Milik could have responded to going behind four minutes later while Adrien Rabiot had a good chance shortly afterwards before Udinese goalkeeper Maduka Okoye pulled off a superb save to keep out Milik's point-blank header just before the break.
Udinese, who barely had the ball after the restart, defended with a low block, seeking chances on counter attack.
Juve thought they had equalised on the hour following a corner but the effort was disallowed because Federico Chiesa's cross went out of play.
Juventus had won their previous four league matches against Udinese without conceding a goal.
They next travel to relegation-threatened Hellas Verona on Saturday. Udinese, who moved up to 15th with 22 points from 24 games, host fellow strugglers Cagliari on Sunday. ― Reuters