Juventus’ hopes of clinching their first Serie A title in four years suffered a setback on Saturday as Empoli held them to a surprising 1-1 draw, while AC Milan paid homage to Mike Maignan in a dramatic 2-2 draw with Bologna.
In Turin, Tommaso Baldanzi’s 70th-minute goal shocked the home crowd at the Allianz Stadium, denying Juventus the opportunity to extend their lead over Inter Milan to four points.
Juventus now lead by just two points, and Inter could overtake them with a win against Fiorentina on Sunday.
Juventus, reduced to 10 men early in the game due to Arkadiusz Milik’s red card, will face Inter Milan next weekend in a crucial “Derby of Italy” match. Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri acknowledged the challenge ahead, saying, “They’re the best team in the league and favourites to win the title.”
Despite playing shorthanded, Juventus initially took the lead with a goal from Dusan Vlahovic, but Empoli’s Baldanzi later equalised, leaving Empoli in the relegation zone.
Elsewhere, AC Milan drew inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr. to support their goalkeeper, Maignan, who faced racial abuse at Udinese last week. The match was paused in the 16th minute to honour Maignan’s jersey number, with a quote from King displayed on the big screen. Fans and attendees showed their solidarity with a light display and applause.
The game itself was marked by Milan’s missed opportunities, including two failed penalties by Olivier Giroud and Theo Hernandez. Riccardo Orsolini’s late penalty for Bologna cancelled out Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s double, leaving Milan trailing Juventus by seven points.
Bologna’s coach Thiago Motta, while pleased with his team’s performance, avoided commenting on the refereeing decisions. Milan coach Stefano Pioli expressed regret over the missed chances, acknowledging the need for defensive improvement.
The draw was a missed opportunity for Milan to close the gap on league leaders Juventus, highlighting the intensity of the Serie A title race.