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Albinoleffe stall Juve´s promotion push

6 April 2007 22:37

ROME (AFP) - Juventus saw their lead at the top of Italy's second division cut to four points on Friday after they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to mid-table Albinoleffe.

Francesco Ruopolo's right-footed strike put the visitors ahead in the 32nd minute before Federico Balzaretti levelled the score with a lobbed shot five minutes later.

Juve came close to snatching victory in the last five minutes when Bulgarian international Valeri Bojinov saw his angled header clip the post.

Albinoleffe have been stubborn opponents for Juve, having also held them to a 1-1 draw earlier in the season.

Juve coach Didier Deschamps admitted Albinoleffe were a hard nut to crack.

"They kept things really tight at the back," said the former France international.

"I don't want to make excuses, but they didn't allow us any space to play.

"In any attacking situation we had, they had eight men behind the ball."

Second-placed Genoa moved closer to Juve after their 2-1 win at local rivals Spezia.

Juve have 59 points from their 30 matches played, while Genoa, who have played a game more, have 55 points. Napoli are third on 53 points after their 3-2 victory at promotion rivals Bologna.

The top two in the division qualify automatically for promotion.

Last summer Juventus were demoted from Serie A and given a nine-point handicap in Serie B for their role in the Italian match-fixing scandal.

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