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Last-gasp strike frustrates Juventus

JUVENTUS failed to win for a fifth successive Serie A game when Jose Castillo scored deep in stoppage time to give relegation-threatened Lecce a 2-2 draw on Sunday.

Pavel Nedved, due to retire at the end of the season, had scored twice to help third-placed Juventus come from behind but it trails leader Inter Milan by 11 points with four to play.

Second-placed AC Milan, which hosts Juventus next Sunday, is seven behind Inter after in-form Filippo Inzaghi and Kaka netted either side of the break in a comfortable 2-0 win at Catania.

Inter, 2-0 winners over Lazio on Saturday, will seal its fourth successive scudetto if it wins at Chievo next Sunday and Juventus beat Milan.

The chances of a Juventus victory at the San Siro looks remote, however, after Claudio Ranieri's side put in another nervous performance against Lecce.

"We will try to put the situation right as quickly as possible to not ruin a good season," Ranieri said.

"If a coach maintains the faith of the club at the end of the season he stays, otherwise he goes."

The game in Turin had been due to be p layed behind closed doors because of racist chanting against Inter last month but Juventus won a temporary injunction to lift the ban. However, Juventus fans used the occasion to protest against Ranieri and club executives, especially after Axel Konan put Lecce ahead on 11 minutes despite looking offside.

The disappointing Alessandro Del Piero was hauled off at halftime and Juventus improved after the break, Nedved firing in twice with his left foot but earning a booking which rules him out of the Milan game.

Juventus fans also protested against plans to bring Fabio Cannavaro back to the club from Real Madrid. Cannavaro flew to Italy on Sunday to undergo a medical test, the ANSA news agency reported.

Argentine striker Castillo then headed in from close range to put second-bottom Lecce two points behind fourth-bottom Torino, which lost 0-1 at Fiorentina.

Juan Vargas' scrappy goal kept the Florence club in the fourth Champions League spot and put it just five behind Juventus.


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