Ten-man Juventus held to home draw by lowly Empoli

Juventus squandered the chance to increase their lead over second-placed Inter Milan when they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Empoli in Serie A on Saturday after playing most of the game with 10 men.

Dusan Vlahovic put Juventus ahead in the 50th minute, scoring from close range following a corner, before Empoli midfielder Tommaso Baldanzi levelled 20 minutes later with a low strike from distance.

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Juventus top the standings with 53 points from 22 games, two ahead of Inter who have two matches in hand.

Inter, who claimed their third successive Italian Super Cup title with a 1-0 win over Napoli in Saudi Arabia on Monday, can regain top spot on Sunday when they visit fifth-placed Fiorentina.

Juve started poorly and were reduced with 10 men in the 18th minute when striker Arkadiusz Milik was sent off for a foul on Empoli forward Alberto Cerri, the referee overturning his initial decision to book the Pole following a VAR review.

Arkadiusz Milik's sending off left Juventus playing most of the game against Empoli with 10 men.
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"We were down to 10 but we tried to win it," coach Massimiliano Allegri told reporters.

"These things happen. We're sorry, but Milik was coming from a good performance and we needed more physicality today. We extend the positive series, losing at home would have hurt us more."

Juve remained unbeaten in 17 consecutive league matches after only their fourth draw in that run.

The hosts, who did not create many chances in the first half, should have taken the lead just before the break through midfielder Fabio Miretti who shot over the bar.

Vlahovic opened the scoring five minutes into the second half, his sixth goal in Juve's last four league games.

Empoli could have equalised in the 68th minute but Matteo Cancellieri sent his close-range header just wide before substitute Baldanzi netted two minutes later.

Empoli, playing their second game under new coach Davide Nicola after sacking Aurelio Andreazzoli, are second bottom of the standings on 17 points.

Atalanta moved up to fourth earlier on Saturday with a 2-0 home win over lowly Udinese.