MILAN: Injury-hit Juventus clearly missed Angel Di Maria as it was held to a 0-0 draw at Sampdoria in Serie A on Monday.
Di Maria had added some much-needed flair to the Juventus side and scored on his debut last weekend as well as providing an assist as the Bianconeri opened the season with a 3-0 win over Sassuolo.
However, he went off injured in that match and could also miss next weekend’s key game against Roma, who beat newly promoted Cremonese 1-0 on Monday to make it two wins out of two.
Juventus was also missing Paul Pogba as well as Federico Chiesa, Kaio Jorge and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny, while veteran defender Leonardo Bonucci was only fit for a place on the bench.
Sampdoria had hit the woodwork — twice — in a 2-0 loss to Atalanta last weekend and did so again in the opening few minutes following Mehdi Leris’ effort.
Shortly afterward, Juventus almost scored an own-goal as Bianconeri forward Dusan Vlahovic kicked a corner onto his own post.
Juventus thought it had broken the deadlock in the 65th minute but Adrien Rabiot’s strike was disallowed because Vlahovic was in an offside position in the buildup.
Rabiot, who had missed the opening match through suspension, recently saw a proposed move to Manchester United fall through.
Juventus’ new signing Filip Kostic almost won it right at the death, but his effort was brilliantly parried by home goalkeeper Emil Audero.
Roma sent messages of support to injured teammate Georginio Wijnaldum before and during their narrow victory over newly promoted Cremonese.
The Roma players wore shirts bearing the words “Forza Gini” (“Stay strong Gini“) as they warmed up for the match and Chris Smalling also held up a Roma jersey with Wijnaldum’s name and number after scoring the only goal of the match.
Wijnaldum, who was signed on loan from Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month, fractured his tibia during a training session on Sunday.
There was a further injury blow for Roma just before halftime when Nicolò Zaniolo was stretchered off after seemingly dislocating his shoulder.
Roma had also won their opener 1-0 against Salernitana while Cremonese had narrowly lost 3-2 to Fiorentina in its first match back in the top flight since 1996.
Both sides had several chances to take the lead and Cremonese goalkeeper Ionuț Radu pulled off a number of impressive saves.
The visiting team went agonizingly close shortly after the break when Cyriel Dessers’s effort crashed off the crossbar.
Dessers also sent two acrobatic overhead kicks narrowly past the post,
Roma hit the woodwork too when Radu tipped Stephan El Shaarawy’s shot onto the bar.
But the hosts broke the deadlock in the 65th when a corner was floated in from the left and Smalling headed in at the back post.
Cremonese almost leveled in stoppage time as Charles Pickel’s volley clipped the outside of the right upright.