Serie A: Juve held by struggling Sampdoria

September 27, 2008

ROME, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Juventus dropped points in Serie A for the second game in succession when they were shut out in a dull 0-0 draw at winless Sampdoria on Saturday.

After being held 1-1 at home by Catania on Wednesday, the Turin side now have nine points from five games. They trail leaders Inter Milan, who face city rivals AC Milan on Sunday, by a point.

Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero came closest to breaking the deadlock with a diagonal strike that hit the far post in the 20th minute. He should have done better as he had time and space to pick his spot.

Otherwise, Sampdoria suffocated the visitors with aggressive tackling in midfield and got into good positions on a few occasions only to let themselves down with the final touch.

The hosts had their best chances at the start of the second half, when Antonio Cassano fired a 30-metre free kick narrowly wide and Paolo Sammarco headed over the bar from a corner.

"They made life difficult for us. It's credit to the defences that it was a draw and credit to Samp, who closed down the gaps," Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri told Sky television.

"The only time we had a counter-attack we hit the post. We are not thinking about the standings, there's no anxiety."

Nevertheless, Ranieri will be worried about his side's lack of success in front of goal as they have scored only four times in their first five league games.

Later on Saturday, Fiorentina beat Genoa 1-0 at home thanks to a second-half Alberto Gilardino strike to rebound from Wednesday's 3-0 drubbing at Lazio.

The in-form Italy forward defended the ball well from a cluster of defenders and thrashed home an angled shot in the 61st.